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Solihull to lose number 4 bus

CHESWICK Green residents fear they may be left "stranded" if plans to scrap the number 4 bus route go ahead.

CHESWICK Green residents fear they may be left "stranded" if plans to scrap the number 4 bus route go ahead.

The service currently operated by National Express West Midlands is under review and may be replaced next year by a number 6A service. If agreed the route will not serve Cheswick Green or Baxters Green but will go via Cranmore, Monkspath and Widney Manor before arriving in Solihull.

Resident Bel Macdonald moved to the village because of the regular bus route to Birmingham and Solihull and said the service was "vital" to her and her neighbours. "I gave my car up five years ago and I'm now totally reliant on bus services."

The replacement service will not go directly to Widney Manor Station, Solihull Sixth Form College, Shirley Town Centre and Birmingham. And there may be alternative services diverting to Cheswick Green - but adding extra time to a trip to Solihull - or operating hourly at evenings and weekends as opposed to the half-hourly service customers are accustomed to.

On Tuesday up to 40 residents attended a meeting with National Express and councillors to discuss how they will be affected by the changes.

Brain Brown, of the Cheswick Green Resident's Association, said the main issue raised on the night was about losing a direct route to Shirley. "Many residents, especially elderly ones, rely on the number 4 to get into Shirley for daily shopping, medical purposes or to pay bills. Without this bus, they will be left stranded or have to wait and get another indirect service, which isn't pleasant in the colder weather."

He urged worried villagers to attend the Associations next meeting on Wednesday at the village hall at 8pm.

Cabinet member for transport, highways and infrastructure, councillor Ted Richards said:

"We are working with National Express West Midlands and Centro to review the bus network in Solihull to provide passengers with an improved, modernised bus network, which will also include better connections at Solihull and Shirley rail stations.

"We know that as part of the review, there will be changes to the current services provided in Cheswick Green and Baxters Green. However we will be making sure that residents' views are taken into account so that they can get the best service possible.

"We have also consulted with ward councillors and local businesses on the draft proposals and are now working with National Express West Midlands and Centro to review the responses received, and address any concerns by refining the proposals, ready for the launch of a new bus network for Solihull on 25 January 2009."

National Express was unable to comment on the issue by the time Solihull News went to press.

 

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