Bus Services in East Cambs Saved After Huge Protest
PUBLISHED: 08:45 12 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 May 2010
BUS services from Burwell, Bottisham, Little Downham and Wardy Hill have been saved after villagers sent a deluge of protest letters to the county council. In September the Ely Standard was informed of county council plans to make £300,000 worth of cuts
BUS services from Burwell, Bottisham, Little Downham and Wardy Hill have been saved after villagers sent a deluge of protest letters to the county council.
In September the Ely Standard was informed of county council plans to make £300,000 worth of cuts to bus services across Cambridgeshire.
Alongside the 115-117 service between Gold Hill Corner, Wardy Hill and Little Downham, the 10 service from Burwell to Cambridge has been taken over as a commercial service instead of being subsidised by the taxpayer.
The county council had argued that it was costing up to £10 a head, per journey to keep the bus service going, but as residents and East Cambs District councillors pointed out that hundreds of young, elderly or vulnerable people would be left cut off from healthcare, education and social activities, the county council relented.
Hazel Williams, Liberal Democrat councillor for Burwell, said she was delighted.
"It's a big thank you to all of those 300 people who signed the petition, and all those who wrote letters," she told the Ely Standard.
"I'm not doubting that some buses are not particularly well used but ours was not one of them. It's the disadvantaged, young and elderly that would have suffered." Cllr Williams joined forces with her Conservative opposite number, David Brown, and Bottisham councillor Dr Bob Stevens - who handed out leaflets to the number 10 bus users travelling from Drummer Street in Cambridge. "It was a good example of what local councillors should be doing - making the public aware of an issue and acting with them, and fighting on their behalf," added Cllr Bill Hunt.
Lib Dem leader Gareth Wilson said it was a great victory for local democracy. "Cuts to bus services have a knock on effect on access to education, facilities and healthcare for some of our most vulnerable people," he told the Ely Standard. "We are delighted that our views have been listened to and those people will still be able to get out and about."
Anna Bailey, whose bus service in Little Downham parish was retained, issued the following statement: "I am absolutely delighted that Cambridgeshire County Council has listened to the people of Little Downham parish. The proposed bus cuts to the villages of the parish came on the back of the terrible news that we were to lose the Post Office in Little Downham. To take away what little there is left of the public transport system as well would have been one cut too many.
Cllr Matt Bradney, the county council's cabinet member for growth and infrastructure, said: "We have managed to ensure no village has been left without a service and the vast majority of routes which people were concerned about have been saved in one form or another.”
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