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Consultation over controversial bus route changes in Sandy

Stagecoach bus

Stagecoach bus

 

Bus users can have their say about the future of a service.

Central Beds Council has launched a consultation about changes to the number 73 service in Sandy. The bus currently connects the north east of Sandy to Bedford, Sandy town centre and Biggleswade.

In November last year Stagecoach announced that it would be changing its route to incorporate the new Tesco store and the Fallowfield estate.

But bus users were in uproar over plans to axe the Engayne Avenue stop, which is used by many elderly people as it is close to Quince Court sheltered housing complex.

One senior citizen said at the time that she would be housebound without the stop because it is too far for her to walk to the second nearest bus stop.

Stagecoach has said it is concerned that the bus must reverse in Engayne Avenue.

Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach Cambridge, said: “We have conducted a risk assessment on this route and the reversing movement in Engayne Avenue has been identified as a problem area, being close to a school and an elderly people’s home.

“We very much need to address this issue.”

Stagecoach originally intended to change the route without consultation, as it is entitled to do, but the company has decided to ask for residents’ opinions following the public backlash.

Central Beds Councillor Brian Spurr, executive Member for sustainable communities, services said: “We have developed a range of viable options for alternative routes for the Stagecoach service 73 which are included in the consultation.

“It looks at things like the demand for a direct service to and from Fallowfield or to Tesco and the possibility of altering the route slightly.

“We know that this is an important subject for local residents so we’re keen to establish what they think and make sure Stagecoach has all this feedback ready before they make a decision on the future of the service.”

Options include cutting the Engayne Avenue stop entirely, re-routing the bus around Medusa Way and restricting parking in Engayne Avenue so that the bus can turn safely. The number of stops required for the Fallowfield estate are also considered.

The consultation runs until Friday, May 23. It can be completed online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations

Paper copies will be delivered to the homes that are most likely to be affected by the proposals. Copies are also available in the town council offices, the tourist information centre and the library.

The new route is expected to come into effect in the autumn.

 

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