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4th Jul, 2022

Campaign delight as bus routes are saved

Malvern Editorial 11th Jun, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

MALVERN bus services under threat of the axe have been saved despite funding cuts of £1.6million.

Bosses at Worcestershire County Council agreed proposals on Monday (June 9) which will see more than a dozen routes serving the district largely retained.

In November the council announced plans to remove the £3million it spends a year on subsidising routes throughout the county.

But following a massive public outcry including 8,500 consultation responses and more than 6,000 signatures on numerous petitions, the authority u-turned and pledged to continue to invest £1.4million.

As a result the 675 Ledbury to Great Malvern and 417 Worcester to Ledbury will continue to run as they do now. Timetable changes will be made to other services including the 362, 363 and 364 Worcester to Upton-upon-Severn routes, 423 Worcester to Suckley, 425 Worcester to Great Malvern as well as the 291 which serves Tenbury Wells and the 308, 309 and 310 which run through northern parts of the district.

The 41, 42 and 43 buses travelling between Upton-upon-Severn and Great Malvern will be reduced to once an hour while the separate Malvern Town service is reduced to once every two hours.

Replacement or alternative buses will cater for the 377 Malvern Link to Cheltenham, the 500 which passes through Tenbury and 351 and 361 between Upton and Gloucester. The changes are set to be implemented from September.

Malvern’s MP Harriett Baldwin welcomed the news having argued it would have been counter-productive to restrict buses in the town.

“This is clear evidence of the council listening to public feedback and working with the private sector to find a solution which reduces subsidies and keeps council taxes down,” she said.

“It is important local people do use their local bus services and ensure an appropriate level of service is available to our rural communities.”

West Malvern resident Diana Hurfurt, who has campaigned to save the 675, said it was ‘fantastic news’ for residents in the village it would be retained.

“I am glad the council has seen sense. It means a lot of people can carry on living here. I just hope more can be done to encourage people to use the bus, if they knew about it they would find it very useful.”

Coun John Smith OBE, responsible for highways on the council, told the Observer the remaining subsidised services would now be protected.

“We don’t want to interfere with the bus services in the future unless we absolutely have to,” he said.

“If I have anything to do with it we won’t have anymore subsidy reductions in the future, it’s always difficult to say that because you never know what’s going to happen, but we think we’ve got a good solution out of a difficult situation.”

* Turn to page seven to read county councillor Tom Wells’ view on the decision.

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