CONCERNS are being raised about cuts to vital bus services in rural parts of the region.

The plans will see bus routes terminated or limited, leaving hundreds of families and vulnerable people in rural communities isolated.

In Chester-le-Street to Stanley, the plans will see affect the 28, 28A, 34 and 78 buses but residents and local councillors complain they have received no communication from council officials.

Mandy Hall, business manager at the Villages Medical Group in Pelton Fell, said: “It is disappointing that there has been no prior discussion with us about the impacts of these changes.

“Most of our patients who depend on these services which are being reduced already have concerns about their health, what they do not need is extra worries concerning how to access such vital services.”

Hannah Blanckley, a mother-of-two from Pelton Fell, is concerned about how the plans will impact her children who go to school in Chester-le-Street.

She said: “I live in Pelton Fell and with the 28 bus being cancelled, there would be no way of me getting my two children to Roseberry Primary School as an alternative link bus has in the past proven unreliable. It would take me 40 minutes to walk the route with a four and seven-year-old. There is no way this service can be removed.”

Durham County Councillor for Pelton Alison Batey, has written to the leader of County Durham Council, as well as Go North East and Liberal Democrat councillor Elizabeth Scott, the cabinet portfolio lead.

She said: “This directly affects residents in the Chester-le-Street area and its outlying villages and we need to take account of the fact that not all pupils can attend a local school and subsequently have to travel. Not every community has a GP Practice, hence the need to travel and not everyone can drive or afford a car.

“Why should our residents needs not be considered? I would urgently urge the leadership, Durham County Council and Go NorthEast to explore these issues further and request a meeting with all parties as a matter of priority. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, leader of Durham County Council, said council members were notified of these proposed changes to bus services

She said: “We understand the concerns of local residents regarding changes proposed by Go North East, and we have been working over the past few weeks to maintain many of the services for passengers that would otherwise have been affected, indeed the council has invested in routes that were previously not subsidised to ensure that a service is retained.

“We have been talking with councillors from the affected areas following this communication. We will also be sharing details of the service changes with members ahead of the amended timetable coming into place.

“Changes to bus services have not in the past 13 years been consulted about at AAPs and neither have parish councils been advised of amended services."

The changes are due to be implemented on from September 5.

A statement on the Go North East website said the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on the usage of all public transport and is changing the way people work, shop and travel.

It said: “We always work to try and adapt to the changing needs and demands of our customers and the communities we serve, whilst also providing an efficient operation.

“It is more important than ever now that we adapted and change to meet these demands and we are now at the point where we need to make changes to ensure that our bus network is in the best possible shape for recovery, and to efficiently support the recovery of our towns, cities and the regional economy.

“There are parts of our network, albeit small, that now require attention and adjustment.”

To find out more about which services are affected click here.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054