Fight goes on to save vital rural bus

Despite the cancellation of two important meetings to re-examine the decision to axe the 375 bus service, a route that serves several isolated communities in Stockport borough, local Liberal Democrats have vowed to keep on fighting to save it.

The 375 service is an essential lifeline for residents in many communities including Mellor, the area’s most rural village, taking them to Stepping Hill Hospital, shopping and to visit friends and family.

A large team of local campaigners and councillors, including Cllr Malcolm Allan in Marple, Shan Alexander in Hawk Green, Oliver Harrison in Offerton and Cllr Charles Gibson in Hazel Grove, have been working tirelessly to save the service. And the campaign is also backed by Parliamentary campaigner Lisa Smart, who has seen first-hand how essential the service is to people across the area.

She explained: “The 375 is the only bus to Stepping Hill hospital for people in Mellor, is a lifeline for those living in Hawk Green, provides essential transport to the Bosden Farm Estate in Offerton and is relied upon by people in Hazel Grove.

“Many people have no alternative available. The decision taken by the committee has been challenged but meetings about it have had to be cancelled because of the Coronavirus outbreak. We want the decision put on hold until it can be properly scrutinised.”

Shan Alexander, who lives in Hawk Green and uses the 375 service – one of the communities most badly affected by the move – added: “It is so short-sighted of members of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority committee who voted for it to end. We are passionate about saving the service and are so grateful to local schools, The Marple College, community groups and individuals who have made their voices heard on this.”

Her comments were backed by Cllr Charles Gibson in Hazel Grove, who said: “For more than 3,600 people to sign our petition, both online and on paper, since it was set up on 17th February is astonishing and just shows how important the 375 bus is to so many. Please sign and share the petition if you haven’t already.”

Local campaigner Oliver Harrison from Offerton explained: “An important scrutiny meeting was cancelled because of Covid-19 and now today’s meeting, but we can’t allow the decision to scrap the 375 service to stand. We hope that common sense will prevail and a decision will not be made until the current crisis is over.”

Finally, Cllr Malcolm Allan, who represents Mellor, commented: “I have spoken to and been contacted by people who have no other way to do their grocery shopping, visit friends, attend college or get to vital hospital appointments if this bus is axed.”

With the meetings that could have saved the bus service now cancelled it is more important than ever that people keep signing and sharing the petition at lisasmart.org.uk/save_the_375_bus

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