Political pressure applied from South Holland on bus operator’s review
Political leaders in South Holland are uniting in an effort to protect cross-county bus services now under review.
Conservative Party members of South Holland District Council held talks after Stagecoach, operators of the 49, 49A, 50 and 505 services connecting the area, with north-east Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk, warned of a “challenging economic climate”.
Future housing growth along the A17 and A151 will mean that a bus service, similar to what we are now receiving, will be needed if the prosperity of this area is to be maintained
Talks between Stagecoach and trade union leaders about the possible closure of King’s Lynn bus depot has fuelled the uncertainty over the future of cross-county routes.
Holbeach district councillor Francis Biggadike said: “As a regular user of the 505 service, I am aware of the large number of people who travel from West Norfolk to spend money in South Holland.
“Therefore, a group of district councillors whose wards are in-between Long Sutton and Weston met to share their concerns about the future of the bus service and we would welcome an opportunity to speak with Stagecoach to assist them in shaping its future operations.
“Future housing growth along the A17 and A151 will mean that a bus service, similar to what we are now receiving, will be needed if the prosperity of this area is to be maintained.”
Coun Paul Foyster, UKIP district councillor for Holbeach, said: “Since the review by Stagecoach has not yet been completed, we do not yet know how it will affect Holbeach.
“But it does not look good and with the area soon to see significant increases in population, it is a bad time to cut local transport resources.
“Given the huge amounts the Government is throwing at London for transport schemes, Crossrail and HS2 for example, there is an excellent case for subsidising bus services in rural communities.
“A lot of local services are based in larger towns like Spalding and King’s Lynn, but exactly how will residents of smaller towns and villages access them without a regular bus service as not everyone has a car?”
Meanwhile, a Lincolnshire County Council spokesman said: “We are aware that Stagecoach is looking at these services and we have had an initial conversation with them.
“As things are still at an early stage, Stagecoach was unable to share specific details but the impression we were given was that Lincolnshire services would not be significantly affected.
“However, we will remain in contact with Stagecoach to see how things develop.”