PARISH councillors are ‘gutted’ as a new bus service that was expected to launch at Christmas time for Sompting and Lancing residents has been delayed after the county council turned it down.
At Sompting Parish Council’s full meeting on Wednesday last week, councillor Kay Vincent said that although everything was in place to have the new bus service up and running before Christmas, West Sussex County Council refused to waive the statutory eight- week waiting period that is required.
County councillor for Sompting and North Lancing, Lionel Parsons, said the council could only introduce a new bus service with immediate effect if there was an incident on a bus route or if the bus company was able to run it free of charge.
He said: “The reason this is in place is to protect small business companies.
“The bus licensing authority have the final say and the only way the county council can override this is in these two circumstances.
“I was quite devastated that we won’t get it on Sundays before the Christmas period.”
The parish council has been organising the new bus service in partnership with Compass Travel.
The new Sunday two-hourly service will incorporate Worthing Hospital, Lyons Farm, parts of Sompting and north and south Lancing.
Sompting Parish Council vice-chairman Sharon Wood said: “If bus companies know this and we’ve been talking to them now for months, why has it crawled out from under the woodwork now?
“I’m disappointed in their attitude. I share your frustration. But it seems the best cause of action is to postpone it until the spring. Gutted.”
Mrs Vincent said fewer residents were likely to use it immediately after the Christmas period and during the colder months of January and February, based on advice from Compass Travel chief executive Chris Chatfield.
“I will make sure everyone knows about it and gets this statutory eight-week period organised,” she said.
The new bus service is expected to launch for the pre-easter season of 2015.