CUTS U-TURN: Slashed bus subsidies will take us back to the 'Stone Age' fears Northamptonshire villager

Bus users in Cogenhoe say they will be left cut adrift.
Bus users in Cogenhoe say they will be left cut adrift.

The cutting of all bus subsidies in Northamptonshire and the funding for dial-a-ride services will leave communities cut adrift, fear villagers.

In the past two hours, Northamptonshire County Council has announced plans to pull the plug on all the money it gives to support less-profitable bus routes around the county - as well as the bookable CountyConnect and CallConnect minibus services for those in rural areas.

Some 30 people from Cogenhoe are believed to use the Centrebus W8 service between Wellingborough and Northampton town centre for work, shopping trips and hospital visits.

But from April, the route will almost certainly cease under today's county council proposal to axe the £55,000-a-year support it gives to run the service.

“Those of us without cars will be left village-bound,” said former army clerical officer Wendy Martin, 75, who uses the service regularly.

Several of the people using the route from Cogenhoe hold a free bus pass and Centrebus, which runs the W8, has informed passengers the subsidy cut would see the service cancelled

Responding to the announcement that even the so called dial-a-ride minibus services will be axed, Mrs Martin said she was shocked.

"We were told that people around the county would be left with this Call Connect service," she said.

"It has never operated here but in the places that did have it, we hoped it would remain.

"This is like going back to the Stone Age."

Mrs Martin, who has lived in Cogenhoe for 47 years, says public services have never been so thin on the ground.

"I have never been without a bus or a library in that time," she said.

"We used to have mobile banks and butchers come by here.

"But in the past two or three years, everything has gone.

"I know the parish council is trying to seek an alternative to the lost buses - but those of us left stranded, we just don't know what road to take."

Political leaders have also been commenting on the proposed cut to all bus subsidies in the county.

Labour group leader Councillor Bob Scott, said the bus subsidy cuts would "hurt a lot of communities."

The extraordinary cabinet meeting to discuss the new £9.9 million set of cuts announced this morning will be held at 1.30pm today (Tuesday).