A new coach service linking Sutton with Gatwick Airport is set to launch in time for the Christmas holidays.

Following a campaign by councillors and residents, National Express will operate a service between Gatwick and Victoria Coach Station via Sutton, starting on December 5.

The new A3 service will have two stops in Sutton town centre, in Throwley Way/ St Nicholas Way and at Sutton station. It will also call at Belmont.

The journey from Sutton to the South Terminal will take just 40 minutes, and to the North Terminal, 55 minutes.

It will run hourly throughout the day and most of the night, catering for late and early flights, giving passengers an alternative to driving, taxi or the train which requires a change.

The service is something that the council has been calling for over a number of years, after the 420 bus, which used to link Sutton to Gatwick was curtailed at Redhill.

Councillor Simon Wales, Executive Member for Communities, Transport and Voluntary Sectors, said: "We very much welcome this new service which will provide a direct link to the airport and avoid the need for costly taxis or airport parking, or a change of trains."

Councillor Peter Geringer, who represents Belmont Ward and has been at the forefront of the campaign, added: "We are pleased this new service will be serving Belmont as it will greatly assist residents in getting to Gatwick for both business and leisure travel."

The new route also improves the number of coaches travelling to London Victoria and is an addition to the National Express 025 Gatwick and Brighton service via Wallington.

Andrew Cleaves, Managing Director of National Express coach said: "The business has the advantage of being able to respond and offer new and improved routes and services to meet demand.

"As such we're delighted to introduce this new service for the people of Sutton."