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Concern that major bus route could go

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

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BUS users in Yeovil have been left dismayed, amid revelations that one of the town's major bus routes could be scrapped.

The number 11 route which serves Brympton Way, Whitemead, Abbey Manor, Larkhill and Preston Grove could be axed.

Somerset County Council confirmed a consultation is underway into the future of the service, which connects a number of locations including Asda, the doctor's surgeries at Preston Grove and Hendford, and Yeovil town centre.

Shocked local resident Jacqueline Cousins, who lives along the route on Larkhill Road, said: "This consultation has been badly handled and has reached very few people.

"We are regular users as this bus takes the most direct route to town and local amenities, and we were completely unaware of the proposal."

Ian Martin, south Somerset district councillor for Yeovil West, also slammed the "appalling" revelations.

He said: "The county council has surreptitiously slipped out an announcement on its website referring to the impending withdrawal of bus routes that they claim are not being adequately supported.

"Many people without access to the website, particularly elderly people in sheltered accommodation along the route and those without a computer, will not have seen the announcement, and therefore would not have been able to react to it.

"This is an appalling and ineffectual way for the council to do a public consultation."

But the county council insisted bus users and local residents have been informed of the consultation.

District councillor Dave Greene said axing the route would be a "short-sighted decision", highlighting how some county council employees, who are to move into the district council offices at Brympton Way next year, would be left without public transport.

Peter Fairey, of South West Coaches which runs the number 11 service, said he "appreciates its importance to local residents" and said talks are ongoing.

A county council spokesman said: "We are currently reviewing our funding of local bus services and are asking for views from members of the public, before any decisions are made.

"To promote the consultation, we sent posters to all bus operators for them to display and these included details on how people can get involved.

"You can fill in the questionnaire online or anyone without internet access can phone Somerset Direct on 0845 345 9166.

"We have also issued press releases and has been featured on local radio and in various local newspapers."

To complete the questionnaire, visit www.somerset.gov.uk.

All representations must be made before Monday, January 6, 2014.

A final decision will be made in February 2014.

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