Buses lost from Shotley area after Suffolk County Council cuts spending
PUBLISHED: 14:15 12 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:15 12 October 2017
Villagers living in some communities on the Shotley peninsula face being cut off after the Suffolk County Council slashed spending on public transport, the area’s local councillor has warned.
The current six journeys a day between Shotley and Ipswich through Erwarton and Harksted will be reduced to a single bus – although Shotley itself will continue to be served by buses through Chelmondiston and Woolverstone which will be unaffected by these changes.
The 98 and 98a services are affected by the county council changes, the 202 services will continue as they run at present.
The county said the changes would reduce the subsidy on the service by £16,000 a year – and it needs to make savings in its public transport budget.
Local councillor David Wood – who is also leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group at the county – expressed his concern at the changes.
He said: “Since the decision was revealed, I’ve had several e-mails from residents who are seriously concerned about the impact this will have on their quality of life.
“We are virtually cutting off part of the Shotley Peninsula community, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for residents to access local services.
“This is clearly not in line with the Council’s supposed commitment to inclusive growth in the county, nor does it fit with their aim to make Suffolk the ‘greenest county’.”
Reducing bus services will have a severe negative impact not only on residents, but also on local businesses. Michael Elvis, proprietor of The Baker’s Arms in Harkstead, stated, “The proposed decision is going to impact hugely on our business. We have customers who travel on the route from Ipswich to Shotley to visit The Baker’s Arms for lunch. The majority of those customers either do not have cars, or are unable to drive for various reasons.”
A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “We are still subsidising this route with £12,000 a year, but just not at the same level as we previously have because we’re facing severe funding pressures. On non-school days and Saturdays, the subsidy remains the same as before.
“Decisions to make savings are never easy and we have been mindful to ensure communities are not completely cut off.”