Sutton St James campaign for bus service has MP on board

Pauline Stebbings at Sutton St James Parish Church 
with fellow churchwarden Sally Clifton at the village's annual flower festival.
 Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG240513-130TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
Pauline Stebbings at Sutton St James Parish Church with fellow churchwarden Sally Clifton at the village's annual flower festival. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG240513-130TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
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Sutton St James is uniting behind moves to bring back a bus service through the village.

Community groups and parish councillors are looking for support to ask bus operator Stagecoach to reroute its 49 service through Sutton St James.

Sutton St James churchwarden Pauline Stebbings, with husband Mick, has backed moves to restore a bus service for the village.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG270511-134TW.

Sutton St James churchwarden Pauline Stebbings, with husband Mick, has backed moves to restore a bus service for the village. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG270511-134TW.

The campaign has the support of South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes and there are plans to involve Sutton St James Youth Club, along with the village’s Good Companions group for elderly people, in any talks.

Churchwarden Pauline Stebbings said: “There used to be a bus that ran into Long Sutton and it was quite full.

“I also a remember a bus service that went to Wisbech two or three times a week so I’m sure that a new service would be a help.

“I’m nearly 81 and there are a lot of people in Sutton St James who are of my age and older, so the chances are that we’re not going to be able to run our own cars and would prefer to go on the bus instead.”

We’ve identified a need where circumstances have changed and people need the option of a bus to go out or face being locked up in their own home

Coun William Harrison, chairman of Sutton St James Parish Council

The only bus services that currently stops in Sutton St James are for students going to secondary schools in Spalding, Holbeach and Long Sutton.

Coun William Harrison, chairman of Sutton St James Parish Council, said: “We’re starting talks with Stagecoach as it’s a big worry that people who have a bus pass can’t use it.

“There is a CallConnect service which we’re grateful for and also school services that stop in the village.

“But it’s not ideal for elderly people going shopping or parents with young families.

“Over the years, we’ve always asked for a bus service and as the village has grown, people have stayed here and gotten older.

“So we’ve identified a need where circumstances have changed and people need the option of a bus to go out or face being locked up in their own home.”

Mr Hayes said: “Sutton St James is a rural village, with good local facilities and an active community.

“But it’s some way from the nearest town and a bus service would help people to get to Long Sutton and Wisbech, accessing both educational and social facilities.

“I certainly would be prepared to give my support to the parish and take this up.”

Andy Campbell, Managing Director for Stagecoach East, said: “We are keen to serve as many passengers as possible but we do have a fixed number of buses to deploy across all our routes and changes to one route can sometimes cause a knock-on impact for other services too.

“However, it may be possible to divert the 49 (Spalding to Wisbech) service but this would be a local authority decision.”