County council chiefs to lobby government over Craven bus cuts

Craven Herald: Representative: Councillor Robert Heseltine Representative: Councillor Robert Heseltine

A pledge to lobby the government about the impact of slashing subsidised bus routes has been made by county council chiefs.

It is one of a number of promises it has voiced after making cuts totalling £2 million to its bus services bill.

County councillors agreed, after being faced by powerful public opposition, to retain four threatened services in Craven but with less frequent buses.

Saved are the 72a Buckden-Hebden-Grassington-Skipton, the 73 Skipton-Greenacres circular, the 74 Grassington-Ilkley and the Skipton-Malham, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday service.

Heaviest hit are the subsidised school bus routes where help will only be provided for youngsters who are entitled to free home to school transport.

It applies to children living in Carleton, Lothersdale, Silsden, Farnhill, Skipton, Bolton Abbey, Embsay and Gargrave.

In a bid to reduce the pain, the executive committee agreed to investigate alternative funding.

Councillors have already set up a review body to look at all aspects of public transport provision and Coun Robert Heseltine is Craven district’s representative.

He said: “It is regrettable that services have been removed or diminished but local government is exceptionally under funded by national government and until that is rectified, local government will continue to suffer.”

John Weighell, chairman and council leader, said: “We have been obliged to take decisions to avoid setting a deficit budget, but we are determined to do everything possible to minimise the impact on individuals.”

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