[Electoral Divisions: All South Lakeland]
To consider a report by the Corporate Director – Environment (copy enclosed).
This report sets out the effect on bus services in the South Lakeland area of a reduction in funding for local bus services across the County of £340,000.
The Local Committee had before it a report setting out the effects on bus services in the South Lakeland area of a reduction in funding for local bus services across the County of £340,000. The report set out the services affected in the South Lakeland area and the reasons why they had been chosen. It also examined alternatives that might be available for those who currently travelled on the services being withdrawn.
Members were advised that as all the services currently supported by the County Council met the criteria agreed by Cabinet in March 2008 additional criteria had been developed to assess all services in order to indicate which offered the best outcome of the funds invested.
Before considering the report the Chair advised that in response to the County Council's announcement to withdraw bus services in the South Lakeland area there had been some work undertaken over the last couple of weeks to provide some alternative solutions. He outlined work that was still ongoing in relation to the following bus services and advised there might be further announcements regarding alternative solutions:-
Service 10 : Barrow – Ulverston via Leece, Gleaston, Stainton Little and Great Urswick;
Service 511 : Broughton in Furness – Ulverston including Service 60 : Ulverston – Canal Head
Service 550 : Silverdale – Beetham – Kendal via Hincaster, Sedgwick and Natland
Service 564A : Cowgill-Dent-Sedbergh–Kendal (Saturdays)
Service 618 : Barrow – Ulverston – Newby Bridge – Windermere – Ambleside
Members expressed disappointment about the potential changes and the fact that of the 19 scheduled bus services around the county facing the axe 9 of them were in the South Lakeland area totalling £220,000. Officers responded to questions raised as to how the additional criteria to assess all services had been approved and why it had not been included in the Council's Forward Plan of Key decisions.
In discussion reference was made to the grant of £288,000 for one year only awarded by Government for improving community transport in Cumbria. Proposals as to how this funding could be applied would be presented to the Local Committee in due course, however it was not considered appropriate for it to be used to reinstate subsidised scheduled bus services that had been removed. The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care stressed that officers needed to be imaginative in relation to the use of this funding and work at a local level to produce creative and innovative sustainable community transport solutions.
During the course of discussion the local member for Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale referred to the services being cut in his area and made a plea for a small amount of funding to be allocated to the proposed summer service in his area (service 564A). The local member for Lyth Valley also referred to service 541 and made a request for ways of retaining it to be looked into. With regard to the new criteria for assessing services a member commented that it would hinder the start of the Child Poverty Strategy.
RESOLVED, that the effect of the changes to bus services in the South Lakeland area be noted, and the comments made at the meeting taken on board.