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What to do with the brand new bus stop on route where buses no longer run?

Durham county council faces bill of over £5000, as it works to find up to £190 million in cuts

Ideas please, for new uses for a brand-new bus stop and shelter which has gone up in county Durham on a route where buses no longer run.

The muddle threatens to add £5,180 to the bills faced by the Labour-controlled county council, which is having to make cuts of approaching £190 million as its part of the current national austerity measures.

This could be unnecessary, though, if the people of Framwellgate Moor – or helpful outsiders – come up with alternative uses for the spanking new glazed booth with its timetable board and litter bin. The latter could obviously be useful just by staying where it is; maybe the timetable could be replaced by local notices and small ads, and the main structure adopted as a greenhouse for communal veg, as in Incredible Edible Todmorden which the Northerner featured last year. Or for an unusual exotic entry for Britain in Bloom‘s villages category.

Or does the nearby Salutation pub need a smokers’ bothy which might be rented? Imagination in such matters can be inspiring, as the use of the redundant phone booth at as the very successful mini-visitor centre for Flodden battlefield in Northumberland recently proved.

Failing such a rescue, removal of the shelter will cost an estimated £1800 plus £3,380 to re-erect it elsewhere. The county is currently replacing a hundred-odd old brick shelters with the new design, so it would find a home.

As for the muddle, the county says that it kept in close touch with Arriva North East and was told on two occasions that buses still ran. Arriva echoes the keeping in touch line but acknowledges “there may have been a misunderstanding as we have not used this stop for some time.” Local Liberal Democrat county councillor Mark Wilkes got an email from the transport section in August saying:

The shelter near the Salutation is no longer serviced therefore I cannot allocate any funds to this shelter and it will be pulled out of the scheme.

But that appears to have been too late.

It’s over two years since the last bus called at the stop, according to local residents who are astonished at the waste of money. Colin Hillary, chairman of Framwellgate Moor Community Association, says:

While our community centre is under threat, it seems a shame that they are not coordinating their works a little better to put money where it would be usefully spent.

It will be interesting to see if other uses can be found. Or even better, maybe buses might be laid on again. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds