Long Lawford campaigners 'disgusted' over county council's response to their petition to bring 3A bus back

Residents in Long Lawford campaigning for the return of the 3A bus said they are 'disgusted' with the county council's response to their petition.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 6:07 pm
Updated Monday, 14th October 2019, 7:07 pm
Campaigners in Long Lawford who are calling for changes to their bus service. Pete McLaren is pictured at the front.

The removal of the 3A from Long Lawford was part of a county-wide move in which Stagecoach Midlands cut and reduced services.

Campaigners argued that the 3A service was vital for a number of elderly and less mobile people in the village.

So they sent a 516-signature petition to Stagecoach in February, calling for the service to be reinstated.

In April Stagecoach said they would not reinstate the 3A - so campaigners submitted the petition to Warwickshire County Council.

Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) spokesperson Pete McLaren, who has been closely involved with the campaign, said: "We therefore sent the petition to Warwickshire County Council which has a legal obligation to consider funding routes cut by private bus operators.

"They receive a grant from the Department of Transport to run services not provided by private companies like Stagecoach.

"We received no acknowledgement, and got no answers at all until October – four months later.

“The response we eventually received last week from WCC was brief and uninformative.

Cllr Jeff Clarke, portfiolo holder for Transport, wrote a letter, stating that Stagecoach previously said they are not willing to reinstate the 3A service - adding that WCC does not have the funding to provide a replacement service or to pay for Stagecoach to change theirs.

Mr McLaren added: “The letter leads us to believe that the petition has not been before any WCC Committee as it should have been.

"It has not been properly processed by the Council at all.

“We are disgusted at the cavalier way in which this issue has been dealt with.

"The WCC web site states a number of ways petitions should be considered - including meeting with petitioners, holding a consultation, referring the petition to a meeting or the council’s relevant overview and scrutiny body.

"None of this appears to have happened."

Mr McLaren added: "I have written back on behalf of the campaign demanding answers on all these issues and a number of others that WCC has failed to address.

"We have asked Cllr Clarke 14 questions in total, including why Council procedures for dealing with petitions have not been followed, why it took so long to receive any response, what Stagecoach was asked about re-routing by WCC, how the decision for WCC not to fund the Long Lawford service was made, and whether there has been any discussion on the funding in the drawing up of next year’s budget."