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MP gives his backing to community bus service bid
AN MP has given his backing to a bid for a community bus service for a rural area of Darlington.
Bus routes to the villages will be cut in December after the council voted to remove public subsidies and residents are now relying on a bid for funding put forward by Sadberge parish clerk Alastair Mackenzie and ward councillor Brian Jones to set up a community bus service.
The pair made a bid to Darlington Borough Council for a slice of £137,000 of grant money, available to community groups across the borough to set up community transport services to replace the publicly funded services.
Mr Wilson said he was aware of the possible impact the cuts could have on the villages and had written to Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon, urging him to ensure that the Sadberge plan was given the funding it needs.
He added: “I know from my postbag the problems the cut in public bus services is having on small communities like Sadberge. “The cut in subsidy from central government is forcing local authorities to make difficult decisions. However there is a grant available from Darlington Borough Council to help establish a community bus service.
“I want the council to look seriously at funding the scheme which will provide a bus service for Sadberge, Bishopton, Great Stainton and Little Stainton.
“I have supported a similar initiative for Hurworth. The lack of a bus service for Sadberge from the end of this year will hit hard the elderly and those without their own transport who need to get to work.”
The plans for the Sadberge and Bishopton community bus service are still in their initial stages, and are dependent on the amount of funding they might receive, but it is thought it will focus mostly on older people at risk of isolation and students who would otherwise struggle to get to college.
All of the funding bids will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s cabinet in October.