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Movement starts to protect under-threat bus routes serving South Holland




BUS THREAT: Father Jonathan Sibley, priest-in-charge of St Mary's Church, Long Sutton. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG140216-109TW.
BUS THREAT: Father Jonathan Sibley, priest-in-charge of St Mary's Church, Long Sutton. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG140216-109TW.

A Long Sutton church leader and a host of parish councils are preparing for a fight to protect under-threat bus services in South Holland.

Father Jonathan Sibley, priest-in-charge of St Mary’s Church, Long Sutton, told the Spalding Guardian about his concerns after bus operator Stagecoach announced “a review of its operations” due to “challenging economic environment”.

A Guardian report last week revealed that Stagecoach was considering the “potential closure” of its King’s Lynn depot, possibly affecting the 49, 49A, 50 and 505 services which serve Spalding, Holbeach, Long Sutton and surrounding villages.

Mr Sibley said: “My concern, and others, is for people who don’t have a car in this rural area and rely on public transport for leisure, school, shopping and hospital visits.

“If Stagecoach close the King’s Lynn depot, it’s bound to affect buses coming into Lincolnshire which will leave those on low incomes and living in rural villages scuppered.

“These bus services are a very important part of the infrastructure of the area and so it’s important that people rally round and make their voices heard on what is a lifeline for all sections of the community.”

If Stagecoach close the King’s Lynn depot, it’s bound to affect buses coming into Lincolnshire which will leave those on low incomes and living in rural villages scuppered
Father Jonathan Sibley, priest-in-charge of St Mary’s Church, Long Sutton

Gedney Parish Council is due to discuss the matter when it meets at Gedney Drove End Village Hall on Tuesday, February 13, at 7pm.

A spokesman said: “Gedney Parish Council is somewhat dismayed by the recent reports concerning local bus services as the loss of the 505 service would severely impact on the local community.

“The council has put the item on its agenda for Tuesday’s meeting and would welcome comments from parishioners regarding the matter.”

Long Sutton Parish Council will also discuss Stagecoach’s decision when members meet at the town’s Baptist churh in West Street on Thursday, February 22, also at 7pm.

Coun Charles Moore, parish council chairman, said: “If the consultation and closure of the King’s Lynn depot occurs then the council would act in all its powers to ensure that pressure is applied in the right places to either allow the depot to remain open or push South Holland District Council and/or Lincolnshire County Council to act in resolving this as soon as possible.

“This is to ensure that passengers who rely on the bus services operated by Stagecoach aren’t affected.”

Stagecoach took over the bus routes previously operated by Norfolk Green, previously trading as Go West Travel Limited, in December 2013 after a deal worth a reported £10million.

But in a statement, a spokesman said: “Stagecoach is carrying out a review of its operations in Norfolk in response to the challenging economic environment.

“The operator has launched a consultation with employees over the potential closure of its King’s Lynn depot, but it is also working with Norfolk County Council on potential steps to protect as much of the local network as possible.”

• What do you think? Email your letters to jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk

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