Pensioner battles to stop bus firm shortening route

Petition organiser: Stephanie Green is fighting to save Moulton's bus services. Photo: SG060311-119TW
Petition organiser: Stephanie Green is fighting to save Moulton's bus services. Photo: SG060311-119TW
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PENSIONER Stephanie Liquorish is inviting MP John Hayes to spearhead the fight to stop bus company Norfolk Green from pulling the plug on most services to and from the heart of his home village.

From next month most 505 services will only stop on the A151 Main Road at Moulton – rather than going to the village centre – as the bus company has been hit by a big cut in subsidy from Lincolnshire County Council.

The bus company will retain its early morning service from the village centre to the George Farmer Technology College at Holbeach but students will have to walk home from the Main Road drop-off in the evenings.

A mid-morning service for shoppers going to Spalding will still depart from the village centre – and take shoppers back there at lunchtime.

With agreement from Lincolnshire County Council, Moulton will lose some of its village centre services with the start of the A151 roadworks – the official start of the withdrawal is April 9.

Former carer Mrs Liquorish (63), of Broad Lane, lost her mobility allowance - and her car - when her husband, Raymond, died last October.

She relies on bus services to get out and says it is too far to walk up to the main road, especially when carrying shopping.

Mrs Liquorish said: “It’s quite a disaster.

“I am not the only one. I am doing this for the community not just myself.

“There is a gentleman of 80 and there’s a lot of elderly people in Moulton who have got quite a way to walk to the bus anyway to get to Spalding.

“If they stop all the buses nobody’s going to get out are they?

“People travel on the bus from Weston to come to Moulton to go to the doctor’s.”

Mrs Liquorish, a recovered cancer patient, lives more than a mile from the main road bus stop.

She uses the buses two or three times a week to shop in Spalding and Holbeach.

She’s put her petition into village shops as well as the Post Office and doctor’s surgery and will present it to Mr Hayes, the South Holland and the Deepings MP, in the hope that he can save the services.

Mrs Liquorish says Norfolk Green has four or five stops in the village and believes the company has complained about access through Moon’s Green because it is often congested with parked cars.

But she said solutions could be found - such as allowing parking on only one side of Moon’s Green - and there could be fewer bus stops in the village to save time and money.

Norfolk Green managing director Ben Colson said Lincolnshire County Council originally withdrew all funding for the company’s Sunday services.

But scrapping Sunday services would have stopped 800 passenger journeys along the whole 505 route compared to just 60 passenger trips by cutting out the ‘dog leg’ into Moulton.

His company wanted to retain Sunday services and suggested to the county council that scrapping the Moulton ‘dog leg’ would be better.

He said about 20 students use the morning bus to George Farmer but they return home at different times during the evening so there will be no buses laid on to take them back to the village centre.

Mr Colson said the students will not have to cross Main Road when they are dropped off in the evening.

The route change would help the company cope with the cut in county council funding and the rising fuel costs.