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Question mark over future of 505 Spalding to King’s Lynn bus service




QUESTION MARK: The future of the Spalding to King's Lynn 505 bus service is uncertain after operator Statecoach announced 'a review of its operations'. Photo supplied.
QUESTION MARK: The future of the Spalding to King's Lynn 505 bus service is uncertain after operator Statecoach announced 'a review of its operations'. Photo supplied.

The future of the Spalding to King’s Lynn 505 bus service is uncertain after its operator announced “a review of its operations”.

Stagecoach, which took over the route from Norfolk Green when it bought the transport firm in December 2013, is considering the “potential closure” of its depot in King’s Lynn.

It would be a big loss to pensioners and people in South Holland who aren’t motorists because the 505 is a fantastic service
Holbeach district councillor Francis Biggadike

At least 120 staff could be affected and talks with trade union representatives have already taken place.

But it as yet unclear what impact there will be on the 505 service which also serves Weston, Moulton, Whaplode, Holbeach, Fleet, Gedney and Long Sutton.

News of Stagecoach’s announcement emerged at a meeting of Sutton Bridge Parish Council on Tuesday and members agreed to write to the bus company and ask for more details about its plans.

Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach East, said: “We are carrying out a consultation and will be liaising closely with staff during that process.

“However, the reality is that we simply cannot sustain the current operation given the challenging economic climate that we are faced with.

“We are a significant local employer and we understand the importance of bus services to the local community.

“Stagecoach East also knows that any change can be unsettling for our people which is why we are working closely with both the trade unions and Norfolk County Council to protect as many jobs and as much of the local network as possible.”

Coun Chris Brewis, district councillor for Sutton Bridge and county councillor for The Suttons ward, said: “Lincolnshire County Council isn’t involved with the 505 service as it’s a commercial route.

“But I wouldn’t imagine that closing the depot will affect the route.”

Stagecoach took over Norfolk Green just over four years ago with a plan to “expand our operations in the east of England”.

But the warning that Stagecoach’s investment is no longer sustainable could impact the 505 service.

Holbeach district councillor Francis Biggadike said: “It would be a big loss to pensioners and people in South Holland who aren’t motorists because the 505 is a fantastic service.

“But I’ve often wondered how Stagecoach could run a service every 20 minutes throughout the day in a rural area like this.”

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