More than 2,000 sign petition against rural bus cuts affecting villages near Corby

Beth Miller with residents affected by the bus cuts in Gretton
Beth Miller with residents affected by the bus cuts in Gretton

Cuts that have left villages like Gretton without any bus services have driven villagers to join hundreds of people signing a petition calling for urgent action.

Beth Miller, the Labour Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Corby and East Northants, launched the petition following a community meeting when people shared their fears following cuts to subsidies by Northamptonshire County Council.

The petition, signed by more than 2,000 people, calls on Northamptonshire’s seven MPs and the Government to step in.

Villagers from across the generations met up with Beth before she handed over copies of the petition to each MP and Government ministers.

Beth said: “It is about time the MPs and the Government actually took some action to support villagers.

“We keep hearing that they have ‘been in discussions’ and will be ‘monitoring’ the situation but we want deeds not words.”

The axe has fallen on a swathe of services including libraries and bus routes since the Tory-controlled county council revealed its dire financial situation.

Along with Gretton, other villages across the north of the county are set to experience the same loss of services from late July because of the county council’s decision.

Other routes under threat have been Transport Connect 180 linking Oundle, Kings Cliffe and Stamford.

Revisions to bus routes around Peterborough have also left Warmington village, near Oundle, without a service since late May.

At the same time in other parts of Northamptonshire the county council has made a U-turn and agreed to reinstate bus services.

Beth said: “The decision to cut the subsidies has had a devastating effect on the lives of many villagers.

“It is positive news for villagers in other parts of the county but in Gretton many have spoken to me about the isolation and heartbreak they feel now that no bus serves the village.

“This is a short-sighted decision by the Conservative-controlled Northamptonshire County Council.

“The county’s seven Conservative MPs and the current Conservative Government need to act now and put pressure on the decision makers.”

Beth, who was once a regular passenger on the Flyer, said: “We should all value our rural communities and ensure services are available to preserve this way of life.

“The Northamptonshire county councillors who backed the decision should take a long, hard look at what this means to the people they are meant to represent.”

The villagers who met Beth at The Cottage Salon included Lucy Buffham, 20, who relies on parents for transport.

She said: “I am unable to drive so it is really hard to find and keep a job if buses are not running.”

And Lucy, who said students at Tresham College in Corby would now have to find alternatives, added: “It was hard to find a job and I now work in Uppingham but have to rely on my parents for transport.

“It is very difficult and has had a real effect on our lives.”

Another villager Pat Jacobs said: “There are so many people of all ages who rely on the buses – it is their lifeline.

“We just want our bus back.”

To sign the petition go to https://you.38degrees.org.uk/…/save-our-buses-northamptonshire