Village fury over lost link

VILLAGERS are today up in arms after losing their market day bus link to Stowmarket.Shoppers in Mendlesham have had to put regular trips into Stowmarket on hold because the direct bus service has stopped - and the only replacement leaves them stranded on the wrong side of the A140.

VILLAGERS are today up in arms after losing their market day bus link to Stowmarket.

Shoppers in Mendlesham have had to put regular trips into Stowmarket on hold because the direct bus service has stopped - and the only replacement leaves them stranded on the wrong side of the A140.

Since timetables changed at the end of August the quickest way Mendlesham residents can get into Stowmarket is by catching a bus at Stoke Ash, which is four and a half miles away in the wrong direction.

The same route must be taken on the return journey.

But to make matters worse the passengers are dropped on the wrong side of the road to continue their trip – and have to wheel trolleys and heave shopping bags across one of the county's most dangerous roads.

A group of elderly friends, from Ducksen Road, use to go on an outing to Stowmarket each Thursday to visit the market and use the banks.

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Maggie Tye, 83, said: "We've been taking the trip for years to visit the market and do all out little jobs and now we have to go all the way to Stoke Ash to get a bus and then risk our lives on the way home.

"We have to cross the busy road with all our shopping and it's a nightmare.

"The road is known as an accident black spot and I think it's lunacy gone mad.

"They encourage people to use public transport and then do things like this."

Trevor Thorpe, 72, of Braybrooke Close, said: "I can't think why they would suddenly cut off a major bus link like that.

"Crossing the A140 is particularly ridiculous at night – it's terribly dangerous."

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, which provides the bus service, said: "The revised routes have been introduced to offer a substantial benefit as there are now more buses (eight in each direction per day rather than four).

"We appreciate crossing the A140 is an issue and we advise those who don't feel safe crossing the A140 should for now use community transport. 

"We are looking to introduce a more formal taxibus type affair in the area in the coming months." 

Andrew Stringer, Mid Suffolk district councillor for Mendlesham, said: "I can't believe there's not a more direct bus to Stowmarket.

"Stoke Ash is a long way out of the way."

Joan Barker, chair of Mendlesham parish council, said: "We have written to the county council and are trying to work something out.

"The bus was used regularly by people from the village and they were mainly elderly people who need to get into Stowmarket for the facilities and services."

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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