Bus routes beat axe but some still to end

Bus service users at Larkholme Community Service have signed a petition against proposed bus cuts.  They are pictured with Norma Edwards holding the petition.
Bus service users at Larkholme Community Service have signed a petition against proposed bus cuts. They are pictured with Norma Edwards holding the petition.
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A large number of subsidised bus services facing the axe look set to be saved by Lancashire County Council in a last minute turn-around.

But it’s mixed news for Fleetwood, Thornton, Cleveleys and Knott End, with some buses included and others not.

County Hall, under pressure to make massive multi-million pound savings, had resolved to save £7m by scrapping 59 subsidised bus services.

But at the second meeting of the newly-created Cabinet Working Group on Bus Services, it was decided that a £2m pot set aside to facilitate a separate community bus scheme will instead be spent saving as many of the subsidised routes as possible.

Now that decision needs to be officially ratified by the county cabinet within the next two weeks.

What it means is that the 74 bus, which links Fleetwood to Blackpool via a part of Larkholme, Cleveleys, Poulton and Victoria Hospital, is set to be saved. But the 84, linking Fleetwood – and much more of Larkholme – to Blackpool via Cleveleys and Poulton will still be lost. The 86, linking Fleetwood to Knott End will also be discontinued, but the 89H linking Knott End to Lancaster will be retained. The commercially run, non subsidised 2C linking Knott End to Blackpool via Poulton will continue.

County Coun Paul Hayhurst, from Elswick and chairman of the cabinet working group for bus service, said: “Due to lobbying by myself and others, we have managed to save enough of the services to ensure that as many parts of the county have some kind of bus cover and are not left isolated.

“ It is vital that people going to work and students going to college do not have their livelihoods and courses jeopardised by not having the bus links they need.”

In Larkholme, where a petition to save the 84 gathered almost 600 names in just four days, Alan Marsh vowed to get the petition to County as soon as possible.

He said: “While we welcome any buses being saved, we fight on because people in Larkholme will lose a vital lifeline in the 84.”

And Coun Rita Hewitt, involved in a another petition at St Peter’s Church to save the 84, asked residents to say why the bus should be saved and email these views to kizzy29@live.co.uk or sign the petition at St Peter’s Church on Tuesdays or Fridays.