‘No threat’ to Ottery town bus says Devon County Council

PUBLISHED: 11:35 11 January 2017

The public bus currently makes a regular visit to Slade Close. Ref sho 7132-06-15SH. Photo Simon Horn

The public bus currently makes a regular visit to Slade Close. Ref sho 7132-06-15SH. Photo Simon Horn

Archant

County Hall bosses have vowed that there are no proposals to cut Ottery’s town bus, after fears were raised it may once again be under threat.

The service was reduced from six days a week to two in 2015, despite objections from residents and representatives.

County councillor Claire Wright warned the town council this week that ‘the axe is hanging over’ the bus. She said: “I know that the elderly people in the town absolutely rely on it. It’s a lifeline - they have told me that. It’s still at risk.

“I know the mayor and some of the councillors have done some ringing around with local towns that we can possibly link up with in providing some joint funding to share a service between two other areas. It hasn’t been successful.

“If we can keep it to two days a week, I think that’s the very minimum we should be doing. We can’t really risk losing it.”

Cllr Wright told the Herald that the bus allows elderly residents to continue living independently, as they can go shopping and avoid walking up the town’s steep hills.

She added: “The fact the axe is hanging over the town bus makes me very nervous.

“I know how much it means to people and I know how devastated they were when it was cut from six days a week to two. I know older people in the town who also have had it in the back of their minds there is a risk to the town bus.”

The bus service is subsidised by the county council and its circular route runs from from Taleford to Taylor Close.

Responding to Cllr Wright’s concerns, Cllr Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management, said: “No firm proposals have come forward from the community transport sector to provide an alternative service.

“There are currently no proposals to reduce any subsidised services in the county and the present Ottery town bus service will continue to operate with the present arrangements of two days a week.”

Cllr Wright has encouraged residents to tell her what the bus means to them. Email claire@claire-wright.org or write to: Corn Cottage, 15 Cornhill, Ottery St Mary, EX11 1DW.


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