‘It’s like Love Island without the love’ - residents left ‘marooned’ due to four week suspension of bus route
A councillor says residents in Sproughton feel ’totally marooned’ as the village has been left without a bus route for four weeks.
Sproughton's Ipswich Buses 111 service has been suspended from Monday January 13 to until Friday, February 7 while drainage works take place on Sproughton Road, near Morrisons supermarket, in Ipswich, by Balfour Beatty as part of the construction of the Boss Hall Estate.
Councillor Christopher Hudson, who represents the area at Suffolk County Council, said villagers feel stranded with many elderly residents unable to get to GP appointments or to pick up prescriptions.
He said: "They feel totally marooned and cannot get into Ipswich. It's like Love Island without the love.
"I just think it's an unreasonable situation, it's just not good enough.
"A lot of residents have contacted me saying they hadn't even been informed."
District and parish councillor Zac Norman echoed Mr Hudson's views, saying he had also been contacted by residents saying they had not received a warning letter.
"It's madness," he said.
"I just think it's a travesty people will have to take taxis to get to GP appointments and to pick up prescriptions - it's an essential service."
Stephen Bryce, general manager at Ipswich Buses, said the road closure is out of the company's control and that it can only serve routes large enough for a bus to pass safely.
He said he appreciated it was frustrating for residents but that it operates the 111-bus service under contract from Suffolk County Council and it has the final say on which route the bus follows.
A Suffolk County Council spokesman said residents could use the council's connecting communities service while the route is suspended, a transport scheme where they will pick you up and drop you off at the nearest bus or train stop.
She said: "Unfortunately, the roadworks are unavoidable for bus service 111 which has resulted in this temporary diversion until February 7, 2020.
"During this time, residents of Sproughton who use the 111 service can use Suffolk County Council's Connecting Communities demand-responsive services.
"Further details can be found at communities.suffolkonboard.com or by calling 0345 606 6171."
A spokesman from Balfour Beatty, said the company had delivered 500 letters to residents in Sproughton, Europa Way and the surrounding areas.
She said: "The letter informed them of the upcoming temporary closure of Sproughton Road in order for essential works to be carried out beginning January 13 for four weeks.
"We were made aware that one resident in this area did not receive the letter.
"As soon as we were aware, we completed a further letter drop in addition to providing information to the Parish Council via email".
However, a spokesman for the village's parish council said a number of residents had not received a letter.
She said: "Sproughton Parish Council debated this road closure at our January meeting.
"We have received a number of comments and complaints from parishioners who were unaware of the road closure.
"Although Balfour Beatty say they have delivered flyers in the parish it appears that a significant minority did not receive this.
"Unfortunately little thought appears to have been given as to the impact of this closure on our older residents who rely on the bus service to get to Morrisons to pick up prescriptions, do shopping or travel to doctor's appointments - one resident said it cost him £25 for a round trip from Sproughton to Morrisons and back via the extensive diversion route.
"It is also impacting those who use the bus to get to work.
"The effect of this closure could be mitigated to some extent by the provision of a weekly minibus service from Sproughton to Morrisons - something that Balfour Beatty should consider providing - if this was the Eurovision Song Contest the score for Balfour Beatty would be 'nil points'
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