Joy as bus cuts scrapped

Service users at the bus stop outside The Ship at Elswick are concerned over proposed cuts to bus routes.  Pictured are Matthew Penswick, 15, Gina Penswick, 12 and Aaron Wolstenholme, 18.
Service users at the bus stop outside The Ship at Elswick are concerned over proposed cuts to bus routes. Pictured are Matthew Penswick, 15, Gina Penswick, 12 and Aaron Wolstenholme, 18.
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Councillors and families across rural Fylde have spoken of their delight after controversial bus cut proposals were scrapped.

Lancashire County Council dropped plans to save £9m a year by pulling funding for subsidised routes after The Expres launched a campaign against the cuts.

Service users at the bus stop outside The Ship at Elswick are concerned over proposed cuts to bus routes.

Service users at the bus stop outside The Ship at Elswick are concerned over proposed cuts to bus routes.

The move that would have left communities across rural Fylde without a bus service.

Sandra Penswick, a mother-of-four children who regularly use the number 76 bus service in and out of Greenhalgh, is delighted the decision to scrap the proposal.

She said: “We can keep all options open when we help choose what school our children attend.

“If the buses had been removed then my son would not have been able to go to Blackpool Sixth Form.

“The decision means people will not feel isolated in rural areas.

“Just because we are a small area with not as many voters, it does not mean that we do not need the buses as much.”

She also commended the Express’s campaign for bringing the issue into the public realm.

She said: “It was great to see the story get lots of coverage, loads of people were talking about it and seeing it got people thinking what would they do if they didn’t have a car at some point.”

“Many people in small areas of Fylde all want to be able to connect to other bigger towns and many do not drive or are unable to.”

Coun Paul Hayhurst, who represents Fylde West at County Hall, welcomed the decision.

He said: “It would have decimated the area that I represent leaving villages completely isolated with people unable to get to work, young people unable to get to college, people without cars unable to shop and elderly persons confined to their homes.

“The social problems that this would have created were never considered and the costs could have far exceeded the amount saved.

“I am delighted with the result.”

Coun Liz Oades of Fylde East is “absolutely delighted” the council have opted against cutting the subsidised bus services.

She added: “I have been at pains to try make the cabinet aware of the impact these cuts would have on rural Fylde.

“It would have impacted on an awful amount of people including young people who need to get to school, people who work and can’t afford to drive and people in the 
countryside who would have been further isolated without these bus routes.

MP Mark Menzies also welcomed the news after he contacted Lancashire County Council management in protest over the move.

He said: “Some of our 
villages are extremely rural and there can be a fine line for more vulnerable people 
between enjoying the tranquillity of those rural idylls and feeling cut off and stranded.

Coun Maxine Chew, of Singleton and Greenhalgh spoke of her “huge relief” to the news that the proposal has been dropped.

She added: “The news will be of huge relief to all rural residents in Fylde and particularly the elderly.

“I am so pleased the county council have had second thoughts on the matter, it was a cruel suggestion that would have affected many vulnerable people in our rural societies.”