AN MP and residents of a small village are hoping to get public transport services extended to their area.

Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham has called on Durham County Council to work with local stakeholders to improve bus services for Burnhope.

Residents of Burnhope are concerned about infrequent bus services to the area and are frustrated about the lack of late services that connect the area to Consett, Durham City and Lanchester.

The lack of services means that some residents are unable to leave Burnhope unless they drive. Plans to build over 100 houses to Burnhope will mean greater demand for public transport.

During a recent meeting with Go North East Buses, Mr Holden raised the matter with senior management, who have stated their desire to work with the council to expand services to Burnhope.

This expansion could be made easier by the £3 billion National Bus Strategy that the Government announced, which focuses on ensuring better and more frequent services across the country.

Mr Holden has now written to Durham County Council to ask them to work with him and local stakeholders to improve Burnhope bus services, requesting a joint meeting with them and Go North East.

Mr Holden said:“Better bus services would mean more freedom for residents at the weekends and the evenings and would level up the area, ensuring that the rural areas around Burnhope are better connected with the rest of the constituency and the wider North East.

"Improved services would also hugely benefit the environment as fewer people would be forced to use their cars.

“I very much hope that the council agrees to meet with myself and Go North East and, longer-term, that they agree to work with us and Burnhope residents on this. This is something that could make a really positive difference to the lives of constituents.

“I firmly believe that public transport in North West Durham needs improving and I will continue to campaign on this issue.”

Amy Harhoff, Durham County Council’s corporate director of regeneration, economy and growth, said: “Like many of our smaller villages in County Durham, we maintain an hourly bus service and this is the case for Burnhope which is, in part, subsidised with funding from the council.

“As with other villages, the evening services were withdrawn in 2010 as part of the then government’s austerity cuts.“We welcome the Government’s announcement of £3 billion towards public transport however, at this time, we are awaiting government guidance on what this will mean for local opportunities in County Durham. It is expected that a significant proportion of the funding will be focussed on the recovery of bus services following the pandemic.

“We will promote enhanced services to areas such as Burnhope, however the decision on funding is entirely dependent on government which will make the decision on the successful investments.”