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How a bus stop is causing a bust up in a picturesque village street

Front Street, Whitburn, resident Gillian Duncan, with Joan George and Miles Atkinson, at the site of the proposed bus shelter

Front Street, Whitburn, resident Gillian Duncan, with Joan George and Miles Atkinson, at the site of the proposed bus shelter

A BUS stop bust-up is brewing over the proposal of a new shelter on one of Wearside’s most picturesque streets.

Gillian Duncan, 81, was shocked when she received a letter telling her of plans to start work on the shelter right outside her Whitburn home.

Mrs Duncan, who moved into her home 12 years ago, said it was “neither wanted nor needed” and has threatened to put her three-bedroomed terraced home, in Front Street, up for sale if it goes ahead.

She said: “There are five bus shelters in the village but they are all outside of commercial and not private properties. I am in my 80s, I don’t want this outside my home.

“I’m sure they thought ‘she’s an old dear, I think we’ll get away with it’. If they go ahead with this shelter, I will put my home up for sale with every estate agent in the North East.

“I am quite sure they would not be putting a shelter outside the homes of people further up the street, those who are the big noises.”

The E6 Stagecoach service currently stops outside Mrs Duncan’s home every 20 minutes. Ironically, the retired shop owner says she is the only resident in Front Street who uses the service.

She added: “The letter was sent out on March 26 and I received it a day later. It informed me that work would begin the following week.

“That gave us three days – including a Sunday – to respond.

“There seems to be this general misconception that everyone living in Front Street is really affluent. It’s got to the point that when I’m on the bus and I get chatting to someone, I tell them I live in North Guards.

“If I say I live in Front Street, there seems to be an animosity towards you.

“They don’t think people in Front Street use the bus. My legs are going and I get the bus because I don’t want to be a burden on the NHS.”

In response, South Tyneside Council has put on hold work on the proposed shelter and pledged to meet with residents.

Coun Tracey Dixon, a ward member for Whitburn said: “We are listening to the concerns of local residents by taking onboard their views from both sides of the coin, for and against the bus shelter. We will meet with the constituents as soon as possible to discuss the matter further, as we look for a speedy resolution to the issue.”

Earlier this year, the council announced 15 new shelters were to be installed across the borough, after a successful bid to the Department of Transport’s better bus area fund, including one on Front Street.

The bid was made by Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority.

 

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