MP supports bus route ‘under threat’

MP Maria Caulfield (left) with ESCC councillor Jim Sheppard. Picture: Parliament UK
MP Maria Caulfield (left) with ESCC councillor Jim Sheppard. Picture: Parliament UK

The decision to retain a bus route ‘under threat’ between Cuckfield and Uckfield has been welcomed by MP Maria Caulfield.

The 31 route, which takes in Haywards Heath and villages including Newick and Chailey, was under threat after Compass Travel announced that due to poor uptake from residents its current timetable was no longer economically viable, a spokesman from UK Parliament said.

This led to the MP for Lewes to work alongside councillor Jim Sheppard of West Sussex County Council (WSCC) in lobbying East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to provide some form of support to the bus company, so that the route could be continued.

The MP said: “I am delighted with this result following my raising the concern of residents in both Newick and Chailey with East Sussex County Council.

“It is vital that residents within these villages remain connected to Haywards Heath, particularly in terms of access to the Princess Royal Hospital.”

As a result, ESCC entered talks with WSCC and Compass Travel, with each of the authorities agreeing to jointly provide financial support so that the route had been able to continue almost unchanged.

ESCC councillor Jim Sheppard said: “I too welcome this announcement, and I am pleased to have been able to play a part in ensuring that this service is retained, following a large number of conversations with residents and neighbours.

“This move further demonstrates that East Sussex County Council remains committed to ensuring that rural villages, such as Chailey and Newick, remain properly connected to vital services and facilities, such as those provided to them by the continuation of this bus route.”

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