There has been another public meeting held on the Hastings bus cuts and another resounding rejection of the county council’s proposed changes to evening and weekend bus services across the town.
Labour’s parliamentary candidate Sarah Owen was joined by local councillors Phil Scott and Emily Westley at the latest Don’t Stop Our Bus public meeting convened in Hollington on Tuesday 26 August, held at Tile Barn Community Centre, the crowded meeting was attended by over 50 local residents.
Sarah Owen said,
“We live in a town where shift workers, elderly residents and tourists rely on a 7 day service. We live in an area of the South East that has comparably low car ownership. The County Council do not seem to appreciate how this will affect vulnerable and elderly residents. If you cannot get around town and visit people, your support network will invariably diminish. Isolation is an inevitability. It’s short-sighted to cut off a lifeline for so many people. The County Council need to show some business sense and leadership by going back and renegotiating routes with bus companies – they’ve clearly failed to do this so far.”
During the meeting, many residents were concerned about the changes. Local bus user Richard questioned whether the county council’s consultation was legal due to how difficult it was to obtain paper copies of the document. There had been promises of them being available on buses, but none had been found. He also complained that website version was difficult to complete.
Terry runs a cafe for older people in Middle Street in the town centre and was particularly worried. He said,
“Many of my regular customers come from across the town and as far away as Rye and Pett but if this goes ahead they just won’t be able to come. What type of message is this sending to our older people? If you can’t afford to travel by taxi, stay at home? It’s just not good enough.”
Sarah also highlighted the support the campaign had received from caravan parks and other local businesses reliant on tourism. Local resident Michael in response told the meeting, “These changes will cripple tourism. Hastings will become a tumbleweed town.”
The Hollington meeting was the latest in a series of Don’t Stop Our Bus public events that the Labour Party are holding throughout Hastings & Rye. It follows meetings in Ore, St Helens, Westfield, Fairlight and Brede with more to come in Baird, Tressell, Rye, Pett and Winchelsea Beach. The next scheduled meeting is at Winchelsea Beach Community Hall on Friday 12th September at 1pm. You can find the latest details, including dates of new meetings, on the campaign Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DontStopOurBus