Residents of a Sunderland town are cheering after a vital bus route was this week saved from being axed.

A public campaign by residents of Houghton-le-Spring, led by Councillor Juliana Heron, has resulted in the 520 bus being saved from cancellation.

Operator Go North East announced plans for the bus to cease operating this year, causing disarray among many local residents who relied upon the route.

Connecting Houghton-le-Spring, Fencehouses and Chilton Moor, the service provides hundreds of residents each week with vital access to local amenities such as healthcare practices, schools, churches and stores.

However, after seeking the support of local councillor, Cllr Heron, they were able to secure enough signatures from residents to successfully petition for the service to remain in-tact and work with the operator to ensure the bus route remains in service.

Cllr Heron said: “This is an absolutely fantastic result for the people of Houghton, Chilton Moor and Fencehouses.

“Losing this service would have impacted upon the lives of hundreds of residents, not least some of the most disadvantaged in our community. I’m just so glad that the operators have seen sense and the service will remain in operation.

“I’d like to thank everyone for supporting the campaign and registering their concerns through the online consultation. It is further proof that people power works and is a great example of what can be achieved when we all work together to look out for – and improve – our communities.”

Cllr John Price, who also lent his support to the campaign, added: “I think I speak for all of the residents of Houghton and the Coalfields when I say how thankful we are to Juliana for her work on this.

“As an area with no metro or rail link, the constant cuts to public transport funding has been catastrophic to areas such as ours over recent years therefore it’s vital that we continue to fight to ensure that existing routes such as this continue in operation.”