Long Lawford residents' campaign for return of 3A bus service gains 'minor victory' - but they will fight on

Long Lawford residents campaigning for the return of the 3A bus service have had a partial victory - with a bus service coming back to the heart of the village for two days a week.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 1:01 pm
Pete McLaren and other Long Lawford residents show their petition against the loss of the 3A bus service.

The 3A service in the village was cut in January as part of a county-wide move which saw Stagecoach Midlands cut and reduce services.

Campaigners argued the 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.

TUSC spokesperson Pete McLaren, who lives in Long Lawford, said: “The petition has not been considered by any council committee as should have been the case, and we heard nothing for four months.

"When we finally got a reply, from Cllr Jeff Clarke, portfiolo holder for transport, it was simply to say Warwickshire County Council could not do anything to help.

"Campaigners refused to accept this, and we have written back asking why council procedures for dealing with petitions have not been followed, and how the decision for WCC not to fund the Long Lawford service was made. We await a response.

“At the same time, we have been in discussion with council officers, and this approach has brought a minor victory."

In addition to the Dial-Ride service on a Tuesday, which has to be booked 48 hours in advance, the county council has agreed to fund a bus service through the heart of the village on a Wednesday and Friday.

Although this will only be once a day each way, it will enable residents to travel into Rugby and, if they wish, onto Elliott’s Fields Retail Park on Leicester Road - allowing about three hours before the return service

This service will be run by A&M Group and it will start on Wednesday January 8.

The bus will be accessible for wheel hairs and will accept concessionary bus passes.

It will arrive from Lawford Heath, stopping in Chapel St and Round Avenue – therefore once more providing a service through the heart of the village.

The extension to include Elliott’s Fields Retail Park is an added bonus.

Mr McLaren said: “Whilst being pleased with this development, we will continue to campaign for a daily service.

"We see no reason why the existing 86 bus from Coventry to Rugby, which includes parts of Long Lawford, cannot include streets in the heart of the village at least three times a day each way, as happens with the Manor Estate in Wolston.

"We will be lobbying councillors to support proposals to do this in next year’s budget. Warwickshire County Council receives a grant of about £1.5million from the Department of Transport to run services not provided by private companies like Stagecoach."