SAVE OUR BUSES: Councillors explore lifeline for the number 67

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Corby Council will be asked to step in to save the number 67 bus that serves rural areas of the borough.

The service that ran from Corby through Gretton, Rockingham, Cottingham and on to Market Harborough was stopped at the end of May after crisis-hit Northamptonshire County Council said it could no longer afford to subsidise the service, along with every other bus subsidy in the county.

An online petition has attracted the support of more than 1,500 people and a paper petition circulated around the villages has also collected more than 200 signatures.

Now Corby Borough Councillor Kevin Watt, whose rural ward includes the areas hit by the withdrawal of the number 67, is asking his own authority to step in to stump up the cash to pay for a two-day-a-week service.

He will table a motion to next week’s full Corby Council meeting, seconded by Cllr Bob Rutt, which states: “This Council has stated its finances are healthy, it has over £9 million in reserves and last year had an underspend of over £700,000.

“This council recognises the importance of a rural bus service and can afford to subsidise a two days per week bus service for Rockingham and Gretton at £6000 per annum until April 2020.”

Cllr Watt said that he has spoken to people in the villages and has attended parish council meetings with his fellow councillors and has been asked on numerous occasions to help save the buses.

He added: “I’ve passed these feelings on to Northants County Council and they do want to fund the bus but unfortunately they’ve not been able to do so.

“A rural bus service is important and the people of Gretton and Rockingham have asked that we look at this issue.

“I’m saying to Corby Council that you’re able to resolve this for a small sum of £6,000.”

Cllr Watt is also trying to look at other ways to resolve the issue. A grant of £10,000 given to Gretton Parish Council by Corby Council some time ago was never spent and the parish council is paying it back over three years. Cllr Watt believes this money could be spent on saving the rural bus service.

He said: “We accept things have gone wrong at NCC but we believe Corby Council has it within its power to mitigate that for people in the borough.

“People in Gretton ask why they’re getting a bus every 15 minutes in Danesholme and yet they are being penalised.”

Cllr Watts says that if Corby Council did step in, the 67 would run on two weekdays.