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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Joshua Hartley

Nottinghamshire councillors fight bus cuts that would have 'devastating impact' on town

A plan has been put forward to reverse bus cuts that would have a 'devastating impact' on a Nottinghamshire town. Trentbarton recently announced it was cutting all evening and Sunday services on the Hucknall Connect service after April 2 as part of a raft of changes meant to cater to customer needs.

The bus serves the Ruffs Estate, Westville, the Welbeck Estate, Broomhill and Hazel Grove areas of Hucknall, and its planned reduction has frustrated residents. But councillors in the town have now revealed a plan to restore the service, which was to be reduced after Nottinghamshire County Council chose to discontinue a £150,000 subsidy to the operator Trentbarton.

Hucknall’s Ashfield Independent councillors Dave Shaw, Lee Waters, and John Wilmott have put forward a proposal for the County Council to subsidise the service on a six-month trial, which they say Trentbarton will be able operate if £75,000 is made available. Councillor Dave Shaw, who represents Hucknall West on Nottinghamshire County Council, has written to County Hall to formally propose the measure which he said would make a significant difference to passengers.

Mr Shaw said: “Since Trentbarton announced they were cutting the Hucknall Connect service at night and on Sundays – we have been inundated with complaints from concerned residents. These cuts will have a devastating impact – especially on our estates. Our proposal is a tiny fraction of the Council’s total budget, yet will make a massive difference to so many people’s lives.

“Trentbarton admits the service they have provided has been unreliable and that may be a reason for the lower than expected passenger numbers. We accept that their service has now improved considerably so on that basis – our proposal is entirely sensible. Residents on our estates will then get the chance to vote to keep their own bus service with their custom. For us, it’s a no brainer.”

Trentbarton said it would be keen to keep the service at current levels, should Nottinghamshire County Council choose to fund it. A Trentbarton spokesperson said: “We have discussed with local Councillors their desire to see these services continue beyond April. If the County Council chooses to continue its funding for Connect, we will happily run the services the Council supports.”

Nottinghamshire County Council said it currently supports 80 bus services at a cost of £4.1 million per year and would take the letter into account as part of a full review of services. Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Operators across Nottinghamshire have told us that bus recovery has been slower than hoped so they will no longer be able to operate some services in their current form.

“We have already stepped in to support 11 bus services across Nottinghamshire which would otherwise have been withdrawn from April. We have prioritised supporting these services in areas where there would be no alternatives for residents if we did not take action and our priority is making sure that communities have access to health, employment and essential shopping facilities.

“Trentbarton is not fully withdrawing Connect services in Hucknall as they will still be in operation in the daytime, meaning that residents can continue to access key facilities. Nottinghamshire County Council currently supports 80 bus services at a cost of £4.1million per year.

"We intend to carry out a full review of all services supported through the local bus budget and will look at any gaps in service provision across the county, which will include the impact of these withdrawals and service reductions by operators, including the Trentbarton Connect services. The county council and Trentbarton received a letter about the service changes from local County Councillors on Wednesday evening and will take into account the content of the letter in the full review of services that is planned.”

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