Councillor wants to see axed Hucknall bus services restored with HS2 cash
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced last week that Nottinghamshire is getting £4.7 million in HS2 funding towards improving county bus services, now that the northern leg of the rail project has been scrapped.
The news immediately alerted Hucknall campaigners who want to see services like the Connect routes, which serve the town estates but were cut earlier this year, restored.
Coun Dave Shaw (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall West on both the district and county councils, said: “Of course this (the new Government funding) is better news, any additional funding is better than nothing.
"We have repeatedly called for the Hucknall Connect service to be returned to an evening service and the reality is that Trent Barton have agreed to do it if Nottinghamshire Council pays a £150,000 bus subsidy.
"The person responsible, Coun Neil Clarke (Con) should listen to the estates of Hucknall and use part of this additional funding to go towards the Hucknall Connect service.
“Bus services are not a priority for the Conservatives who run Nottinghamshire Council.
"They ran a bus service consultation in May and myself and fellow Hucknall councillors Lee Waters and John Wilmott sent in a joint submission from Hucknall.
"The fact are is that they won’t even get around to discussing this until March 2024, but we will continue to bang the drum for better buses across Hucknall.”
Coun Clarke, cabinet member for transport and environment at the county council, said: “Protecting and improving bus services is absolutely a priority for the Conservatives.”
“Coun Shaw and his colleagues should be acknowledging, for example, that I have only recently signed off an investment of £450,000 per year to save and protect the 141 bus service which connects Hucknall with many other communities through the centre of the county.
"It’s strange that Coun Shaw seems to have conveniently forgotten that.
“He should also acknowledge the council invests some £4 million a year protecting around 80 bus services throughout the whole of Nottinghamshire.
“We have an extra £4.7 million to invest in bus services and Hucknall Connect is already on the list of services that will be considered for support.
"In fact, the local MP Mark Spencer has already been lobbying us in relation to this service.”
“All of this is evidence of our commitment to protecting bus services, but we must also recognise that bus operators don’t withdraw buses out of spite.
"They cease bus services if there is lack of patronage.
"As a council investing taxpayers’ money, we cannot step in and subsidise every route that falls short of commercial viability, but we do prioritise support those services where there could be no alternative public transport options for residents if we did not take action.
"That’s why we acted to save the 141 service, and I’m very proud that we did so.”
“As hard as we work to promote bus use, and as much as we invest, it’s the public who ultimately determine which bus routes are sustainable and which are not.”