MP calls for review on plans to axe Daventry 'vital' bus service after community outcry

Growing anger of loss of 'lifeline' Stagecoach service

By Lucie Green
Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 2:08 pm

Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris has responded to community outcry at losing a vital bus service.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition to keep Stagecoach's 200 service, which provides a link between Banbury, Daventry and the connecting villages.

Many more have taken to social media calling for a u-turn around on the decision, which is planned to take place from April 4.

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Rachel with her Guide Dog Jax.

The MP has has written a joint letter of support to Stagecoach and the local authorities with Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire and Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for Banbury, requesting that the decision is reviewed.

Rachel Nafzger, who lives in Daventry, told this newspaper: "I am a totally blind resident of Daventry and struggle already with the lack of good links to surrounding towns via bus. Pre-pandemic, I used to use this service all the time and it will be incredibly isolating for me and so many others if we were to lose it.

"This is seriously upsetting news."

People said they use the service for work, to get to appointments, school, college and shopping.

Campaigners have launched a petition to keep the service.

Donna Rounsfell, who lives in Woodford Halse, said: "I was in total shock when I learned our only public bus service is due to be withdrawn..

"I have a 16-year-old son, who as everyone has, suffered immense disruption to his learning over the last two yeas and is finally getting back to life as normal and working hard to study for his GCSE exams in June this year.

"With this news, we now face the very real possibly that he will not be able to carry on with his further education and attend either Daventry or Banbury colleges this September. At this time neither my partner or myself have the ability to take him."

She added: "Surely, this can't be allowed to happen?"

Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris

A spokesperson for Stagecoach West said the service has not covered its operating costs for several years.

They said: "These financial challenges have worsened in recent years with passenger levels now at less than 75 percent of pre-Covid levels.

“The service is run on an entirely commercial basis, without any local authority support. We have approached the councils, but they are unable to provide any support to keep this service running.

“This is a difficult decision to make because we know the impact it will have on individual people, but unfortunately without funding, our only option is to withdraw the service.”