317 hospital bus funding concern is rumbling on
Alsager councillors failed to reach agreement over potential funding for the running of the Saturday 317 bus service, at a town council meeting last Tuesday.
Conservative Coun Sue Helliwell’s proposal for the deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, Coun Craig Browne, to attend a meeting to discuss the matter, has been knocked back following disagreement over the word “funding”.
The bus which runs from Alsager to Leighton Hospital, Crewe, via Rode Heath and Sandbach, used to run on a Saturday before it was axed due to financial cuts.
Campaigning for the service, Coun Helliwell, said: “Unfortunately my member’s item fell through because the Lib Dems didn’t vote for it.
“I’m hopeful that Craig Browne will take it upon himself to attend a meeting because health workers still work at the hospital on a Saturday and residents still visit loved ones on a Saturday.”
Currently people have to catch two buses to get to the hospital, which costs over £10, according to Coun Helliwell.
She said Coun Browne had previously stated he would like the bus to run on a Saturday. However, he wanted to see parish and town councils funding “up to 50%” of the service.
The member’s item stated that Coun Browne would be invited to discuss “the potential of Alsager Town Council funding up to 50% of the cost” which was met with concern at the meeting.
Some councillors believed this meant Alsager would also have to pay for the route section through Rode Heath and Sandbach, despite Coun Helliwell stressing that was not the case.
The debate followed news that Cheshire East has been given a six-figure sum from central government.
Coun Helliwell added: “I just wanted to discuss with him what his vision is, the potential of funding up to 20%, how does he see the town and parish councils working together.
“He’s said twice previously he wanted to enter into talks with parish councils and town councils. I generally would like him to still come to the town council to discuss.”
The Chronicle asked Coun Browne to comment but he did not respond by deadline.