Cash bid to rescue crucial bus service
Updated 9:50am Friday 14th February 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
VILLAGERS are calling for talks with developers to ask for cash help with reinstating a regular bus service between the village and the Orbital Shopping Centre.
Last year Thamesdown Transport withdrew the number 12 service – leaving many villagers feeling isolated and unable to reach vital services, such as the library and gym.
The company said at the time it was for commercial reasons as not enough people were using the half-hourly service, but the decision has left some residents feeling abandoned.
Villager Barbara Carlson, 51, said: “It has left many people who need to get to the Orbital shopping centre feeling trapped, especially with this recent weather.
“In order to get to the Orbital, people now need to take buses which means waiting, which puts a lot of people off. It has cut people off from the library and the gym. I need to use the gym twice a week for physio but at the moment I am only able to go once a week when my daughter is able to take me.”
Now, with development work set to take place close by, it is hoped Section 106 money, which has to be provided by developers to enhance communities, can rescue the service.
Parish council chairman Ian Jankinson wants to negotiate with Hills UK Ltd, which has applied to build 61 homes on land close to Ermin Street.
He said: “On a previous development on Ermin Street we were able to work with the developer to secure money for work on the graveyard and tennis courts. If we can sit down with Hills and possibly Thamesdown Transport to work out what would be needed in terms of money then hopefully we can have the bus back.
“It is still something we are regularly asked about by people keen to know if we have a solution. It has really affected people who had come to rely on being able to get to the Orbital.
“The alternative now is to go straight into town which is not what a lot of people want.”
Thamesdown Transport has not ruled out the possibility but said it is unlikely to be involved.
Managing director Paul Jenkins said: “Negotiations with developers around Section 106 contributions to public transport links are normally held with the borough council as part of the discussions around planning applications, so we would not expect to be included in those during the initial stages.”
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