Sidbury bus wrangle left elderly ‘housebound’

HIGHWAYS chiefs have come to the rescue of elderly Sidbury residents left ‘housebound’ after it was decided a replacement bus service would not stop near their homes.

County council bosses yesterday successfully appealed for changes to the temporary transport – a result of roadworks in School Street, Sidford, – after unhappy villagers contacted the Herald.

Wales and Western Utilities has paid for an alternative service, as a normal bus cannot run from Honiton to Sidmouth while the firm undertakes a five-week programme on the A375.

Sidbury residents were unhappy when they realised the shuttle bus did not stop, as normal, at streets like Furzehill or Burnt Oak.

Avril Fowler, 48, said the move left both her 86-year-old gran, Vera Summers, and dad, William Pugsley, 70, - who live in the respective streets - “housebound”.

Both rely on the bus to get into Sidmouth.

“My dad has had a stroke - he depends on that bus just to go anywhere. My mum passed away recently and going into town is the only social life he gets,” said Avril, also of Furzehill, on Wednesday.

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“My nan has just had an operation and has to go to the doctors to have a head dressing changed.

“The bus is their only form of transport- now they’re pretty much housebound.

“We understand roadworks have to go ahead.”

Jean Ryan, who has lived in Sidbury for 30 years, said the replacement shuttle service “cut off the majority of the village”.

She added two children of her friends were 40 minutes late for work in Sidmouth on Tuesday after the connecting bus from Honiton did not wait for the link service.

Devon County Council (DCC) has arranged a change in the bus stop schedule.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said yesterday:“The shuttle bus arrangements are paid for by Wales and West, who are undertaking the works, and bus operator Stagecoach has agreed that all stops in Sidbury will now be covered.”

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