DEVASTATED business owners have spoken out on the impact the closure of Go North East's depot in Chester-le-Street will have on the town and trade.

Cafes and shops in the County Durham town have said they are fearing the worst - with one losing up to 70 bus driver customers per week.

Read more: Go North East faces claims Chester-le-Street depot was 'run down' by firm

It comes as the bus company intends to shut down its depot of more than 100 years with hundreds of staff expected to be transferred to neighbouring sites.

Anil Herh, who owns Brenda's fish and chip shop on North Burns, has been serving people of the town, including bus drivers, for the last 30 years.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Mr Herh said he is worried about the loss in business after Go North East made the announcement.

Read more: Go North East confirms plan to close bus depot in Chester-le-Street

He said: “I’m of the belief that every little bit of business helps. We serve at least ten bus drivers a day with food because they like that it’s nearby and they can sit outside to eat.

The Northern Echo: Owner of Brenda's Fish and Chips, Anil Herh (right) and his business partner. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGHOwner of Brenda's Fish and Chips, Anil Herh (right) and his business partner. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH


“We’re talking about 70 bus drivers a week – it’s a huge amount of business to lose and a key link to the bus depot just down the road.

“In the 30 years we’ve been here, we’ve always served bus drivers that have come in – it’s not great news.”

It’s not just Mr Herh that has been impacted, though.

The Northern Echo: The Go North bus depot on Picktree Lane in Chester-le-Street. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGHThe Go North bus depot on Picktree Lane in Chester-le-Street. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH

Another business owner in Chester-le-Street, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Northern Echo: “It’s disgraceful enough that they move workers away from the town, but then to impact our businesses with this.

“We get a lot of passing trade from bus drivers, and I’m worried about the significant impact, especially in a time when people aren’t exactly flash for cash.

“As always, businesses have missed out and more jobs are moving out of the area.”

In a statement, Go North East previously said: "Today local bus company Go North East has commenced a consultation with affected colleagues and their Trade Union representatives about closing its Chester-le-Street depot and moving routes to other surrounding depots in Consett, Sunderland and Gateshead.

"The bus industry has faced a number of challenges in emerging from the impact of the Covid pandemic, including changes to the demand for many services and substantial increases in costs which, combined, mean that bus operators are having to review services and see how they can operate them more efficiently.

"The Go North East depot at Chester-le-Street is over 100 years old, which the original part of the site tracing its history back to the formation of the Northern General Transport Company in 1912.

"The very elderly building requires considerable investment to keep it operational and this, along with changes to bus services that are currently out for consultation, means it is no longer financially viable to keep the large site operational."

Moving to offer reassurances to its customers, Go North East said that services would not be affected by the closure.

The company added: "Go North East has confirmed that there will be no enforced driver or workshop engineer redundancies as part of the closure, and whilst some bus services are due to change from the end of July, the closure of the depot in itself will not impact services for customers."


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