Bus companies and residents the victims

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IF planning consent is granted for a seafront care home at Eastbourne Gardens then it is proposed to remove the bus turning circle and turn some 55 buses per day at the roundabout on Claremont Road.

The application shows how buses will be expected to proceed.

Every 15 minutes a bus will be required to drive up Monkseaton Drive, turn at Claremont Road and then drive back down to the seafront.

The bus companies are as much a victim of this measure as are local residents.

The council sold the car park without any regard to the buses.

The application reads: “There is a proposed alteration to the existing wide roadway and roundabout, previously used for bus turning, and no longer required; it was agreed that this is to be regulated as part of this development, and with a financial contribution from the applicant towards the cost.”

As I have pointed out previously, up to 50 buses use this facility every day, and have done so every day since it was built when conductors were no longer available to signal drivers while reversing into Bournemouth Gardens to turn round.

The evening service was restored only a couple of weeks ago after a period of turning in the town centre.

‘Previously used for bus turning, and no longer required’ is a misrepresentation of the facts, and I am sure the residents of Monkseaton Drive would resent its being used to justify seeing a bus pass their own house over 100 times a day.

For a council to sell land as ‘previously used’ and ‘no longer required’ is one thing, for the council to then decide on its development based on this takes the whole business to another level.

The application itself actually states: “The site is ideally located close to a good public transport network into Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, …”.

But if the bid is successful, such links would very likely disappear after over a century of tram then bus links to Whitley Road, Tynemouth and North Shields.

It is much more likely that the company will simply turn the buses in the town centre rather than tolerate an extra 80km of empty running of buses.

This let alone the loss of driver rest time after an 81-minute run that would ensue from driving an empty bus up and down Monkseaton Drive.

CONRAD SMITH

Whitley Bay