Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Wanborogh and Bishopstone parishes demand talks over No.47 bus service
ANGRY councillors have condemned the council for a lack of consultation after it promised residents during a packed cabinet meeting that more public discussions would take place.
Leaders from Wanborogh and Bishopstone parish councils criticised Swindon Council for not hosting more consultations about the Thamesdown Transport 47 bus service following a meeting where council bosses assured around 90 residents that they would be included in future plans.
Two weeks ago cabinet members agreed to defer its decision on whether funding for the council-subsidised 47 bus, which runs from the town centre to Bishopstone and Wanborough, should be scrapped after a huge outcry from the public.
The authority resolved to discuss plans for a three counties service, running along the same route as the 47 bus with West Berkshire and Oxfordshire, which would cost Swindon Council around £5,000 a year.
At the meeting a number of residents expressed their frustration about not being properly informed about the changes before they went before the cabinet for a final decision and it was resolved for more consultations to be hosted in the coming weeks. “When you look at the cabinet minutes it doesn’t mention anything about consulting more with the people of Swindon,” chairman of Wanborough Parish Council Gary Sumner said.
“I’m extremely disappointed, I don’t think they have any plans to further engage with the public which was the promise made at the council meeting.”
He said a Swindon Council official had been spotted on the bus 47 counting passenger numbers in the last week.
“This should have happened months ago,” said Coun Sumner.
“It’s a pretty poor show that they are talking of scrapping a service when they don’t even know how many people use it.
“The council have not consulted locally at all to establish the impact of withdrawing funding from this route and clearly have no idea of the impact – hence the massive attendance by ordinary local residents at the meeting.
“They haven’t shared any of their hard data with us,” said vice chairman of Bishopstone Parish Council Ian Thompson.
“If they had data demonstrating that the service is not viable then they should put that information in the public domain. We have been collecting our own evidence which shows the service is extremely well used.
“The council said they consulted with us but they are hiding behind this bus strategy consultation in December and January which very broadly discussed the issue. Deleting a bus is an entirely different thing and they should have come out and spoken to us.”
A Swindon Council spokesperson said: “We are meeting with the chairs of both Bishopstone and Wanborough Parish Councils on Friday to discuss the issue further with them, which is the next stage of the process. We have agreed to extend the bus service to at least the end of the financial year, so we now have more time for consultation as a result.
“We are checking passenger numbers on the service again because the figures we were given by residents and others at the Cabinet meeting were so far removed from what we had understood to be the level of usage that we felt we had to check them again. I don’t think we can be criticised for that.”
Comments are closed on this article.