Garth Harkness

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Ward on Oldham Council Learn more

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Saddleworth Liberal Democrats slam bus cuts

by Garth Harkness on 12 January, 2020

Saddleworth Liberal Democrats have slammed proposals for yet more reductions to bus services in Saddleworth.

The proposals by Transport for Greater Manchester seek to abolish services 353,354,355 and 407.  They propose to expand the Saddleworth rambler service (356) to cover some of the shortfall but it will see some areas lose bus services and a reduced service for more.

Councillor Garth Harkness, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North said

“Saddleworth have already experienced cuts in bus services to Dobcross, Diggle and Greenfield recently with First bus unwilling to engage with local members and local people.  Cutting early morning services and evening services is not satisfactory at all. These proposals will see yet more cuts to services and no guarantees over reliability and capacity to cope.

“During the consultation for the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy 2020 Saddleworth & Lees District Executive in partnership with Saddleworth Parish council submitted a detailed account of the local transport needs and this proposal does the opposite. It will result in more isolation for the elderly and families without a car who rely on these buses. “

Transport for Greater Manchester have been consulting on a franchise scheme where they said Buses can be improved and Greater Manchester now has a chance to  they say, “do buses differently”.

Mick Scholes , Local Liberal Democrat campaigner for Saddleworth South said:

“It is with disbelief that there has been a consultation by Labour controlled Transport for Greater Mancheser  over having a Greater Manchester Franchise scheme because areas like Saddleworth suffer under the commercial model, yet it is the same organisation which is suggesting that we isolate even more people in Saaddleworth. People use these services to get to work, school or college and the expected lack of reliability and reduction in service will make this extremely difficult for local people.”

The proposed cuts have serious implications for residents living on Saddleworth estates away from main roads.

The following areas will have no bus service in the future: (national guidelines are that reasonably active people should be able to walk up to 400 metres to/from a bus stop – no mention of hills)

* Palin Wood Road Delph – up to 700 metres up a steep hill to nearest bus

* Church Road and Wellmeadow Lane, Uppermill – up to 640 metres up a steep hill to nearest bus

* Station Road and Grove Road, Uppermill – up to 500 metres up a hill to nearest bus

* High Grove Road & Church Road, Friezland – up to 500 metres up a steep hill to nearest bus

* Shaw Hall Bank Road, Friezland – not even mentioned in the officer’s report

In the evenings the Greenfield – Denshaw service is  reduced from hourly to two hourly; Denshaw to Oldham remains hourly.

Councillor Garth Harkness has written to officers. the chair of Transport for Greater Manchester and committee members urging them to oppose this proposal

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