Bus service cuts plan under fire from Shrewsbury councillors
Shrewsbury town councillors have agreed they cannot just sit by if bus services across the county, including the town’s Park & Ride, change under proposals.
At a meeting of the planning committee, chairman Nat Green gave permission for town clerk Helen Ball to draft a letter outlining the council’s concerns regarding a Shropshire Council consultation which ends next month.
The six-week consultation opened in March, outlining changes to services in the county and also detailing changes to be made to Shrewsbury’s Park & Ride service.
Fares will increase, concessions cut and timetables altered if the revised plans get the go-ahead.
But at the meeting, Councillor Green said concerns had been raised that changes to services in the county could lead to increased isolation of the young and elderly, harm business and trade and add to carbon emissions.
Councillor Ioan Jones, non-affiliated independent member for the Harlescott ward, said it was almost easier for him to travel to Telford if he wanted to go shopping than it was to go from his home into Shrewsbury.
“We have discussed the future of the high street and parking charges and this on top will discourage more people from visiting our town,” said Councillor Jones. “We are being stabbed in the back by Shropshire Council. Reducing bus services into the town will kill our town. We need to object to these proposals.”
Councillor Julian Dean, from the Porthill ward, told Tuesday night’s meeting that to take away the Park & Ride group ticket would only encourage more people to drive into and park in Shrewsbury. “It is a step in the wrong direction. Fewer buses leads to isolation – it is a no-brainer,” he said.
Members said the paring back of services would lead to an increase in the number of cars travelling into town, which would be at odds with Shrewsbury’s Big Town Plan which aims to make the centre more pedestrian-friendly.
Council leader Councillor Alan Mosley proposed the wording for the letter and members of the committee agreed that it should be sent to all members stating that the planned changes would be a ‘retrograde step’ in terms of the future of Shrewsbury.
A march, organised by a Shrewsbury cafe owner, will take place on Saturday.
Gwen Burgess is calling for as many people as possible to join her in the Square at 11am to protest over the planned changes.