East Cambs Council puts temporary block on £13,500 grant to community transport group ESACT pending outcome of county council probe

Jo Philpott, manager of FACT at the 2015 launch of ESACT

Jo Philpott, manager of FACT at the 2015 launch of ESACT - Credit: Archant

A £13,500 grant to Ely and Soham Association of Community Transport (ESACT) has been put on hold pending the outcome of a county council inquiry.

The Ely and Soham Association of Community Transport (ESACT) who are still hopeful of receiving £13,

The Ely and Soham Association of Community Transport (ESACT) who are still hopeful of receiving £13,500 from East Cambridgeshire District Council's community transport grant. - Credit: Archant

The commercial services committee of East Cambs District Council had been recommended to approve the grant but councillors agreed it should be halted for the time being.

The committee resolved to allow the grant “subject to a satisfactory resolution to the ongoing investigation”.

The county council is funding a £45,000 investigation by an external company to resolve a long running dispute between the community transport provider and the Cambridgeshire Coach and Taxi Drivers Association.

Chief executive Gillian Beasley, as well as authorising the external probe, has also confirmed she has asked police to investigate alleged forged responses to a community transport survey last year.


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ESACT is a registered charity in the East Cambs area which offers a door-to-door service for people who cannot access local bus routes due to age and disability, people living in rural locations with limited or no access to local bus routes or those without access to a car. You must be a member of ESACT to use the service.

It covers the area around Ely, Littleport, Soham, Haddenham and Isleham

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ESACT was formed in 2015 when it took over from the now defunct Ely and Soham Dial a Ride.

Cambridgeshire County Council awarded an initial grant of £86,000 to the new service; fund the purchase of new buses and staff.

ESACT is part of the March-based Fenland Association of Community Transport (FACT) who also runs the Huntingdonshire Association of Community Transport (HACT).

Sally Bonnett, infrastructure and strategy manager, said the £13,500 asked for by ESACT this year was to “support the expansion of dial-a-ride in East Cambridgeshire.

In an accompanying report to councillors she pointed out that Cambridgeshire County Council had agreed to match fund the grant to ESACT (£12,750). She said ESACT had shown an increase in membership since its launch.

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