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Hospital bus service halted as link road needs repairs

DISAPPOINTED: Councillor John Sayers by the link road engineering works, designed to stop cars from using the route as a rat run.
DISAPPOINTED: Councillor John Sayers by the link road engineering works, designed to stop cars from using the route as a rat run.

A county councillor has called the continued saga over a specially-designed bus link road ‘extraordinary’ after a bus company pulled out of the Sudbury Health Centre route.

Chambers and Hedingham bus company have pulled the plug on their contract to run the number 84 service to Tesco and the Community Health Centre in Sudbury via a specially designed link road between Chaucer Road and Claremont Avenue after the road was declared unfit for purpose.

The road was supposed to be opened in November but its opening was postponed when a bus was damaged during a trial run. The ‘egg box’ engineering works on the road, were designed to prevent cars and vans from using the route as a rat run.

“It really is extraordinary,” said John Sayers, county councillor for Sudbury.

“I’ve never heard anything like it. It’s all because it wasn’t designed properly in the first place.

“Somebody probably did it on a drawing board and didn’t come down and have a look.”

Mr Sayers said he was disappointed the service would not run, saying it would especially affect elderly residents.

“The link road isn’t fit for purpose. It’s alright up through Chaucer but when the bus tried to go the other way it had a collision.”

Jeff Clayton, general manager of Hedingham and Chambers bus company, said: “We made the decision to withdraw from the route.

“Because it’s not ready we can’t commit to it.

“If you raise expectations on it they will only be dashed. We will hopefully come back when it is ready.”

However, this could take some time, with Mr Sayers saying the link road would need to be redesigned by council developers to make it possible for buses to pass through.

In place of the route the company has increased services to the health centre, now running every hour, with more efficient link ups for users on services from Bury St Edmunds and Great Cornard.

Sudbury town councillor Luke Cresswell was angered at the loss of the route and questioned whether Suffolk County Council could now be trusted to deliver the new split bus station plans in the town.

“It is disgraceful that Suffolk County Council has failed to deliver a bus to the Sudbury health centre,” he said.

“We have a county council that boasts of Suffolk being the ‘greenest’ county. Yet here once again, despite the best efforts, over a long period, of a conscientious local member, it has again failed.

“Given this, should people in Sudbury seriously place their trust in Suffolk County Council to organise two bus stations?”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We are aware of the issue, and we are looking into it. It’s not something we have an immediate solution for; our highways officials are seeing what can be done.”

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