The Gazette’s successful campaign to stop savage bus cuts which campaigners feared would have isolated parts of the Fylde coast has been praised for saving vital services.
Lancashire County Council has scrapped plans to save £9m a year by pulling funding for subsidised routes, a move that would have left a dozen communities in the area without a bus service.
However, bosses have warned this may not be the end of the issue as the impending general election casts further uncertainty over the future of council funding.
Coun Paul Hayhurst, who represents Fylde West at County Hall and was instrumental in getting the plans shelved, today welcomed the decision to drop them from the council’s proposed budget.
He praised the Save Our Buses campaign – which was launched jointly by The Gazette, the Lytham St Annes Express and the Fleetwood Weekly News – for helping to highlight the issue.
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.
“The campaign mounted by the papers were invaluable and demonstrates how vital local newspapers are to our community.”
Speaking after the council’s cabinet unveiled its proposed budget for the next three years, deputy leader David Borrow said Labour plans to reintroduce bus regulation could make plans to cut bus funding irrelevant.
He added: “That will solve the problem without having to simply stop the services straight away.
“We would rather wait and see what happens at the election.”
The cuts would have hit 142 services across Lancashire.