RESIDENTS in Blunsdon have welcomed news the village is to stay connected after fears they would lose their only bus service.

An announcement had been made by Thamesdown Transport earlier this month they were cancelling the number 24 service because it was not commercially viable.

However, following discussions between the parish council, the council and the bus company it has been announced a new service will come into effect from May 27.

It will run seven times from Swindon and then six times back. A service during key morning and afternoon hours will service the Groundwell Industrial Estate for workers and the other routes will go to the Orbital.

There had been fears residents would be left completely isolated if there were no buses but these have now eased.

Alison Elliott, 49, who has always lived in the village, said: “People are really relieved we have this service. Losing the bus service was a key issue for everyone I think because a lot of people were worried they would be unable to do the things they needed.

“I think it’s really good we are going to have the service not only still going but also stopping at the Orbital, which is important to so many people. We are all very grateful to everyone who has acted on our behalf to get this service back.”

Working with Blunsdon and Highworth ward councillors, the parish council were involved in the discussions to ensure a bus service would remain to the village.

Chairman Ian Jankinson said: “I, along with many of the residents, am pleased that a bus service to the village will be retained. There was a lot of dismay and anger when the potential changes were announced so we are relieved the service has been saved.

“I am also pleased there is a service to the Orbital, which is used by so many living within the village.’’

Paul Jenkins, managing director of Thamesdown Transport, said: “We are pleased to have been able to reach an agreement with Swindon Council about retaining a service into Blunsdon village.

“We have tried to take account of the varying needs of commuters and shoppers by restoring the route via Asda Walmart during off peak hours, which is very much in response to the feedback we received following our consultation.

“During peak times the bus will run via Cricklade Road to cater for commuters travelling to the town centre, Blunsdon and Groundwell Industrial Estate.

“The new timetable, which will start on 27 May, will be available from mid-May.”