Hadleigh bus petition attracts 3,000

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AN axed bus service could be reinstated after thousands of people left “marooned” by the decision signed a petition calling for its return.

The number 90 bus from Hadleigh to Ipswich was withdrawn last year as Suffolk County Council made alterations and cuts to public transport services in a bid to reduce its budget.

But the move angered many people in the town, who felt the loss of the service, which ran during the evenings and weekends, had triggered an enforced curfew – restricting students, the elderly and those without private transport from travelling freely.

More than 3,000 people have since signed a petition lobbying for its return and this has now been presented to the county council.

Simon Wills, from Station Road, who organised the petition, said: “It is the council’s duty to provide a service, given Hadleigh’s relationship with Ipswich.

“Lots of people, whether they be students, shift workers or people going for the night, need to get to Ipswich after 6pm or at weekends and it is crass not to have a service at this time.”

Shelley Pingo, who helped to gather signatures, said the extent of support for the petition demonstrated the need for the service.

“When approaching people to sign, I was greeted with instant enthusiasm across the whole age spectrum and real excitement from the younger population,” she said.

The petition has also garnered backing from the town’s district councillors, Kathryn Grandon and Brian Riley.

“Everyone feels very strongly that this service is needed and a lot of the community are affected by this,” said Mrs Grandon.

“Young people are being marooned in the town as it is impossible for them to go anywhere. Many people were reliant on this service and, as there are no trains to catch, there is no alternative public transport.”

The county council has said the number 90 service was one of many the authority had to cut but, following a meeting with those behind the petition, has agreed to explore ways to offer a similar service.

Guy McGregor, the county council’s portfolio holder for roads and transport, said: “Officers are now working with those involved to consider all possible avenues of funding in order to secure a service that meets the needs of the residents.

“Subject to funding, we are hopeful of a trial service being operated in the coming months.”

The issue is due to be considered by Suffolk County Council’s full cabinet on May 24.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Petition organisers Shelley Pingo and Simon Wills.