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Residents plan to block road over bus cuts

By Lucy Todman | South Shropshire | News | Published:

A group of residents living in a south Shropshire market town are planning to block a main road over plans to alter the timetable of a much needed bus route.

Shropshire Council is currently undertaking a consultation process in to proposals to change or alter bus services across the county.

The consultation closes on May 6 and a report that will be considered by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on May 22.

One of the routes to be under threat is the 553 from Plox Green and Bishops Castle to Shrewsbury.

Many people living in Bishops Castle say it is a lifeline for them and a reduction of the service, from five journeys per day to two, would lead to isolation and leave them effectively cut off.

They are now planning to stage a protest on May 17 and aim to bring the main A488 to a standstill.

The demonstrators will be placed just before the first turn off to Bishops Castle from 9.30am onwards.

Sarah Wilkinson, who lives in Bishops Castle, said: "We will attempt to close the A488: disruption to road users is not a malicious intent, but a way to demonstrate how the council's proposal is a permanent disruption to those of us who rely on public transport. What use is a road if we may never use it?

"Many of us feel that the proposal to cut a very vital service is worth fighting for. We are already isolated here. Many of our families live elsewhere. Everything, outside of Bishops Castle, is soon to become 'elsewhere'.

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"I rely 100 per cent on the buses. Without a bus, I can never leave, unless I can afford the non-concessional 7.30am school bus, which will only run on school days, and I am able to wait nine hours in Shrewsbury to return home. I live on £6 a day — £4.80 for a single journey, without money to even spend nine hours killing time in a café, is just not feasible. It's cruel.

"'Mobility is dignity' is our motto for the protest. Mobility is a right. Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 13: the right to travel is protected. Cutting the bus service is essentially discriminating against those who do not have a car, or are unable to drive for whatever reason. It is an attempt to gentrify rural towns and force the poorer or more vulnerable members of the community to vacate their homes."

Shropshire Council was contacted for comment.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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