Protestors’ fury as bus decision goes on hold

Dozens of residents of Sabden demonstrate outside County Hall, Preston, after their one and only bus service was axed. Picture by Paul Heyes, Thursday May 26, 2016.
Dozens of residents of Sabden demonstrate outside County Hall, Preston, after their one and only bus service was axed. Picture by Paul Heyes, Thursday May 26, 2016.
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Protesting residents were left furious last week when county councillors failed to make a decision over the Sabden bus service.

Dozens gathered outside county hall armed with banners and flags before a meeting of the full Lancashire County Council. But it seemed their protests fell on deaf ears after the issue was put on hold for at least six months.

The panel, which was forced to return to the issue after the Conservatives tabled a motion to have the Sabden service brought back, resolved to ask officers to negotiate with various bus companies to see if any would be prepared to run services to the village. The county council will then reconsider the issue of putting on a subsidised bus service.

But this is of little comfort to the 1,500 residents who claim they have been left stranded and isolated without any public transport to and from the village. An action group, Save Our Service, has been launched in the village and organisers have vowed to continue with the fight to get their bus back on the road.

Resident Mr Paul Howard said: “This decision has ruined people’s lives. Each day more and more For Sale signs are going up as people desert the village but they have no choice as so many are stuck without a regular bus service. This seems to be all about politics but they need to see this is about people.”

Mr Howard said that protestors would be taking their case to a higher authority and also asking more questions about the amount used on bus subsidies for other services across Lancashire.

He added: “We would also like to know why millions is being spent on a new bus station for Preston when some of that cash could have gone towards bus subsidies.”

Mr Howard pointed out that the decision to end the service was sprung on Sabden and there was no time to make preparations to put an alternative in place. He said: “We are happy to work with the parish council and Ribble Valley Council on the idea of running a community bus service but this is something that should have been looked at months ago.

“Our bus service ended and we were left high and dry.”