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Town hopes to bring back bus routes for community and tourism

PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 January 2020

Pictured far right is Graham Watson, Director of the Seckford Foundation, who is hoping to offer bus services to the residents of Woodbridge. Picture: SECKFORD FOUNDATION

Pictured far right is Graham Watson, Director of the Seckford Foundation, who is hoping to offer bus services to the residents of Woodbridge. Picture: SECKFORD FOUNDATION

Seckford Foundation

Innovative proposals to introduce new bus services in Woodbridge and the surrounding area are being drawn up by community leaders in a bid to alleviate cuts to rural routes.

Caroline Page, transport spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group has campaigned against the bus cuts. Picture: CAROLINE PAGE/WOODBRIDGECaroline Page, transport spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group has campaigned against the bus cuts. Picture: CAROLINE PAGE/WOODBRIDGE

Woodbridge School, supported by the Seckford Foundation, has a fleet of 18 buses available between the hours of 10am and 4pm which could be made available.

Plans are heing drawn up to offer services in Woodbridge and the surrounding area and tourism excursions to the nearby Sutton Hoo estate where the 7th century Saxon burial ship was discovered.

The prospect was discussed at Woodbridge Town Council's first climate emergency committee meeting this week where councillors debated how to offset the town's carbon footprint and reduce damage caused by excessive transport fumes.

First Buses in Ipswich have seen cuts to their services leaving many residents in the region unable to travel to certain areas. Picture: SIMON PARKERFirst Buses in Ipswich have seen cuts to their services leaving many residents in the region unable to travel to certain areas. Picture: SIMON PARKER

While discussing plans to commission the town's first electric "eco bus" to reduce carbon emissions, in the meantime, community leaders are hoping to use spare buses from Woodbridge School.

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Graham Watson, director of The Seckford Foundation and bursar of Woodbridge School, will be taking his offer to East Suffolk Council for discussion in a bid to ease the town's bus predicament.

Mr Watson has been directing the foundation since 2003 having previously been employed as director of finance and support services for The Prince's Trust and Royal Jubilee Trusts.

He said: "We are in the early stages of exploring how our schools' mini buses could be used in their local communities. We recognise the importance of addressing Woodbridge's climate emergency and we are keen to help where we can."

There was furore at the prospect of bus cuts in Suffolk with councillor Caroline Page, who is the transport spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrat, Green, and Independent groups, at the forefront of the objections.

She gathered over 1,500 signatures in a petition to take to the First Buses' headquarters and said at the time: "The criteria for making the cuts may be new and fairer, but saying this does not obscure the problems these cuts will cause to rural bus users with few other options.

"Suffolk has just declared a climate emergency. Are we expecting everyone who lives in our countryside to have a car?"


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