Concern over plans to close Clacton bus depot and axe services

First Essex is proposing to close its depot. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

First Essex is proposing to close its depot. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

Plans to close a bus depot in Clacton and axe a number of services have been met with concern by community leaders.

Bus company First Essex has announced proposals to close its operating base in the town and discontinue several routes – with around 60 jobs at risk.

Tendring District Council (TDC) has called for an urgent meeting with the senior management of the bus firm over the plans.

Ian Davidson, TDC chief executive, along with councillors Zoe Fairley, and Lynda McWilliams want to meet First Essex to find out more about the proposals.

First Essex says its bus operation in Clacton has not been viable for several years.

Mrs McWilliams said: “Though transport is a county council matter, as community leaders we know our residents will be concerned about this announcement.

“Whether they are bus users themselves, work for the company, or if their business relies on public transport to bring staff or customers to the area, this is an issue which has the potential to affect a lot of people.”

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The proposed routes facing the axe are services 2 - Clacton to Mistley, 3 - Harwich to Clacton, 4/4a – Clacton-Jaywick-Burrsville and Clacton-Jaywick-Bockings circular, 5/5a - Clacton to Flatford Drive and 6 - Clacton to Point Clear.

Bus services between Clacton and Colchester, and Clacton and Walton-on-the-Naze are unaffected.

Steve Wickers, managing director of First Essex, said: “I’m disappointed that we are proposing to withdraw services in Clacton, but regrettably, we see no alternative.

“Despite our best efforts and hard work to encourage people to use the service network in the town, customers have declined gradually over the last couple of years.

“Unfortunately, the level of demand is not enough to warrant a stand-alone bus operation in Clacton.

“We are proposing to continue running services as normal, however, we are engaging with Essex County Council on the future of bus services in the area.”

Sheila Hammond, secretary of Tendring Pensioners Action Group (TENPAG), said: “Isolation and loneliness is one of the biggest causes of ill health in elderly people and having a good bus service is essential.”

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