South Lakes MP Tim Farron has praised Stagecoach after they agreed to re-route the new 552 service via Hincaster to return bus services to the village which were cut by the Conservative-led county council in April.
Despite receiving an extra £288,000 towards local bus services from the government, the county council planned to cut the lifeline to Levens, Sedgwick, Natland and Hincaster by pulling funding from the 550 and 552 routes. Following a campaign run by community groups in the villages, and local Liberal Democrat councillors Mary Orr, Brenda Gray and Geoff Cook, Stagecoach agreed to keep services going and re-route various buses.
One of the services they rerouted was the 552 to serve Sedgwick and Natland, but this led to a side effect of it not being able to serve Milnthorpe Square which caused problems for residents in Arnside. Now the 552 will serve the Square before continuing through Hincaster, Sedgwick and Natland. Heversham will continue to be served by the 555, and Levens by the 530.
In a reply to local MP Tim Farron, who has spearheaded the wider campaign, Paul Southgate, Managing Director Stagecoach North West said: "[We will route the 552] service via Hincaster so that it will serve Milnthorpe Square and address the angst that the revised routeing has caused. I understand there are some utilities works due along the intended route shortly and so we will not attempt to effect the change until that is complete. Obviously we will advise bus users accordingly once a change date is arranged."
Tim said: "I'm really pleased that Stagecoach has agreed to tweak these services to include Hincaster. The services provide a vital lifeline for local communities which were let down by the county council in April."
Chair of the South Lakes Local Committee of the county council, Lib Dem councillor Geoff Cook, said: "This is yet more good news for local residents, but as Stagecoach are now providing these services commercially, residents should remember the old adage - use it or lose it!"
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