Victory for campaigners as axed bus route restored from Monday in Northampton

Residents in the Little Billing and Bellinge areas are enjoying their victory after an bus service is set to return next week.

Sunday, 5th January 2020, 9:30 am
Campaigners, including Jade Howes wearing the green coat, and residents pictured on Friday ahead of the new bus route launching on Monday.

Residents were up in arms after Stagecoach made changes to its number 16 service, which came into effect last July.

This meant 11 streets that operated off Fishponds Road no longer had easy access to a bus.

The roads affected were Campion Court, Coneygree Court, Faracre Court, Glade Close, Worcester Close, White Heart Close, Cherry Blossom Close, Fitzgerald Road, Leatherworks Way and Cliff Court.

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After a public meeting at the end of August, which saw more than fifty residents in attendance, the campaign group claimed Stagecoach was not interested in revisiting changes they had made to withdraw the service.

A spokesman for Stagecoach told the Chronicle & Echo last September that it was no longer viable to run the number 16 service between Little Billing Way and Fieldmill Road as only eight people used it.

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The extended service will run along Fishponds Road, which will start from Monday, January 6, and will serve the 11 streets affected after the route was axed, stopping at four bus stops.

Worcester Close resident Jade Howes, who started the petition and worked with Labour's former parliamentary candidate for Northampton South, Gareth Eales on the campaign, said: "This news has been very well received by residents.

"It’s a shame Stagecoach was not interested in correcting the ill-feeling they caused but a huge thank you to Uno bus for listening to local people and making this change.

"I would like to thank Gareth Eales for his support on this. When others wouldn’t even reply to us, he stepped up to help.”

Ed Cameron, commercial manager for Uno bus, said: “Since we started route 17 - branded Poppy - in September we've been bowled over by how popular it's been in the first few months.

"So we're delighted to now be extending it around Fishponds Road and Little Billing, providing a new service for some areas that weren't previously served by a bus.

"Route 17 will run every 30 minutes on weekdays to Weston Favell, the town centre and Mereway providing key links for those working, shopping or seeing friends and family.”