Combs Ford residents call for improved bus services
Residents in Combs Ford are calling for an improved bus service, after they were left with only an infrequent minibus connecting them to Stowmarket town centre.
The minibus only stops twice a day in each direction from the southern end of Stowmarket, meaning they then have to catch a return journey within 42 minutes or face a five-hour wait for the next return from the main shopping area.
Now, 291 residents have signed a petition complaining about the decline in service.
They say: “It is exceedingly difficult to live one’s life to the full if you have very little public transport and are not very mobile. How do you get your shopping, go to the doctors, dentist, bank, hospital or, most importantly, to socialise if you are elderly and live alone when there is no regular public transport?
“You are isolating people.”
Town councillor Gareth Betts-Davies said: “Surely we should be improving and promoting access to ensure a busy and economically vibrant town centre, not allowing such degradation to our services.”
A development of 75 homes at Edgecomb Park will contain a high proportion of sheltered and supported housing and properties aimed at retired and older people.
When planning permission was granted in 2014, the development brief said the district council would aim to promote further bus services in the area.
Cllr Nick Gowrley, district and county councillor for Stowmarket South, said: “New homes cannot be built in isolation: they need to be connected to the wider area and to the town centre to create a real, sustainable community in Stowmarket, not simply collections of isolated suburbs.
“Public transport connections are vital and ensuring bus provision throughout Combs Ford must be a priority.”
A Suffolk County Council spokesman said it was investigating the possibility of incorporating elements of a previous commercial service in Combs Ford into other routes.
“While we do this we have an arrangement in place with a local company to provide a core service in the area,” he said.
MP Jo Churchill said: “On behalf of Combs Ford residents, I have written to leader of the council Cllr Nick Gowrley to ascertain the facts and discuss how we can deliver the transport links residents depend upon.”