Bus route change proposals should be made public, Midhurst councillor says

County councillor Kate O'Kelly. WSCC bus routes consultation
County councillor Kate O'Kelly. WSCC bus routes consultation

Minutes of a discussion on potential cuts to bus routes across the county should be made public, Midhurst’s county councillor has said.

West Sussex County Council has been consulting on its bus strategy for several months and a select committee discussed the proposed changes on December 6.

The committee was held in private due to commercially sensitive matters, but councillor Kate O’Kelly, who represents Midhurst, has said the proposals include severely reducing or cutting bus routes and should not be ‘kept secret’.

Cllr O’Kelly said, “I was aware that a few of the proposed changes were commercially sensitive, but most of the proposals weren’t.

“However, most are extremely politically sensitive.”

She has submitted a motion to full council calling to keep the buses in their current form, insisting there are no significant reductions to the network or frequency. The debate will be on December 14.

She said: “It is essential that the majority of the proposals are made public before then. Residents need to be informed about which bus services are under threat and which villages might be left without a service.

“It would be absurd for the members of the council to be debating the future of our buses without being able to discuss the specific routes affected.”

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “All supported bus services are being reviewed as part of the development of the county council’s bus strategy.

“A bus users’ survey was carried out and received more than 4,300 responses.

A councillors’ Task and Finish Group considered all the feedback and the select committee discussed the bus strategy on December 6.

“Commercially sensitive information was included in the second part of the meeting, so this was confidential and not discussed in public.

“No decisions have yet been made and the review will now be considered by the cabinet member for highways and infrastructure.

“Residents and bus operators will be kept fully informed on any decision and next steps.”

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