'Eyesore' bus won't be removed despite neighbours' pleas

Alive Church abandoned bus

The bus has been sitting on the land belonging to Alive Church for years - and is increasingly being targeted by vandals - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Locals have called for the removal of a "hideous" bus from their street — but the church it belongs to won't give up on a project to convert it.

Alive Church, in Nelson Street in NR2, is run by volunteers.

Most of the windows on the bus have been smashed by vandals

Most of the windows on the bus have been smashed by vandals - Credit: Sarah Burgess

The windows of the bus are boarded up after vandals smashed the glass

The windows of the bus are boarded up after vandals smashed the glass - Credit: Sarah Burgess

There is glass all the way along the underside of the bus on the pavement - despite volunteers' best efforts to sweep it up

There is glass all the way along the underside of the bus on the pavement - despite volunteers' best efforts to sweep it up - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Glass along the underside of the bus

Glass along the underside of the bus - Credit: Sarah Burgess

In 2018, they used donation money to buy an Eastern Counties bus with the intention of turning it into a soft play area for community use.

They parked it on their private land in full view of their neighbours, where it's sat ever since.

But volunteers say the pandemic derailed the conversion plans and decimated their finances, and almost four years later the "eyesore" bus sits empty — with locals claiming it attracts vandals and antisocial behaviour.

Jon Williamson's assistance dog had to take a trip to the vet

Jon Williamson's assistance dog had to take a trip to the vet after standing in shards of glass near the 'eyesore' bus - Credit: Jon Williamson

Just last weekend another bus windowpane was smashed.

Though volunteer co-minister Jo Thurne said the glass shards were quickly cleared, one local claimed it wasn't quick enough to spare his assistance dog Rupert from injuries.

Most Read

Jon Williamson said on three separate walks in the last two months glass shards from the bus had become stuck in his pet's paws. This led to costly vet bills, which Ms Thurne has since offered to reimburse.

Jon Williamson

Jon Williamson's dog Rupert was injured after standing in smashed glass from the bus windowpane - Credit: Jon Williamson

Mr Williamson said: "That thing is a monstrosity. I'm personally worried someone's going to set it on fire."

Other neighbours echoed Mr Williamson's concerns.

Nick Stephen who lives nearby, said: "It always attracts drunk people. Just the other day my son saw people chucking stones at it."

Neighbour Richard Shepphard said the church should "do the decent thing" and get rid of the "hideous eyesore".

But Ms Thurne, who is acting volunteer minister alongside her husband, said the volunteers planned to do no such thing.

Nick Stephen

Nick Stephen said the bus was a source of concern for neighbours, who either wanted the project completed or the bus removed entirely - Credit: Sarah Burgess

She explained: "We will finish our conversion project as soon as we raise enough money. That's our goal.

"Over the course of the pandemic we've offered hours and hours of pastoral support to people in need, given out hundreds of thousands of meals and recently opened a boutique shop in Chantry Place to help Afghan refugees. A bus is the last thing on our minds.

"We're aware it's an eyesore. But we have nowhere else to put it.

"Once finished, this will be great for local children.

"We just need the community to bear with us."

The bus is parked on the private land belonging to Alive House Church

The bus is parked on the private land belonging to Alive House Church - Credit: Sarah Burgess


Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter