Hambledon’s 503 bus reprieved

Hambledon’s only bus service, the 503, is set to be reprieved by Surrey County Council, reversing a decision to scrap the route as a cost-cutting measure.

This is a victory for the campaign mounted by Hambledon Parish Council and local residents to save the service.

Following the SCC Local Transport Review earlier this year, aimed at finding savings on council-subsidised rural routes, the 503 was one of a number of services to be scrapped, subject to public consultation.

The parish council vociferously opposed the proposal and many villagers raised objections during the consultation process.  SCC has listened, and at a meeting of its Cabinet on May 24th, members are expected to endorse the review team’s recommendation that the 503 continue.

The parish council argued that it was wrong to withdraw the only bus route serving the village, leaving residents without any public transport. The 503 is a lifeline for a number of elderly or infirm residents who rely on the bus to get to shops, supermarkets, banks and surgeries in Milford, Godalming and beyond.

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Agenda documents for the May 24th meeting, available on the Surrey County Council website, state that the council recognises “the important role that bus services play for our residents”, adding: “To address some of the concerns expressed during the public consultation exercise it has proven possible to recommend some enhancements to the original proposals.”

These include reversing the decision to scrap the 503. The 523 Milford hospital service from Godalming has also been reprieved.

Currently the 503 operates on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, twice in each direction, beginning and ending at Lane End. The recommendation is for the service to continue on at least Wednesdays and Fridays and possibly on another day to be determined.

The parish council has asked to meet with SCC planners to discuss ways of increasing passenger numbers, perhaps re-routing the service to take in new areas of development. In the documents the council states that it is “working to stimulate patronage on bus services and reduce the need for council funding.”

The 503 is operated by Stagecoach but subsidised by Surrey County Council. The transport review examined services across the county. Faced with cuts in Central Government funding, SCC is looking save £2 million on its transport budget by next year.

The recommendation to be voted on on May 24th will enable SCC to achieve the required savings needed from the review, documents state.

 

 

MORE HOMES…NO BUSES?

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Hambledon residents have until this weekend to write in support of the village’s threatened bus service, the 503. The consultation period ends on Monday (March 14th) at 9am.

Surrey County Council, which subsidises the 503 and other rural bus routes, wants to hear the views of villagers before making a final decision on the fate of the service. It is reviewing all bus routes in the county as it looks to make cuts to its budget.

Details of the Local Transport Review can be found at https://www.surreysays.co.uk/e-i-directorate-programme-group/ltr

Hambledon Parish Council strongly opposes the proposal to axe the 503. It is asking Surrey County Council to reconsider the issue and perhaps look to amalgamate the service with the 523 Milford Hospital service, which is also under threat. With more than 100 new homes being built beside the hospital, and a proposal to build affordable homes at Lane End, Hambledon, the council believes Surrey County Council should examine how to better integrate the service before making a final decision.

Here is Hambledon Parish Council’s submission to the Surrey County Council review.

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Plans on show for new homes on Hospital site

The developer appointed to build more than 100 new homes on redundant land around Milford Hospital is previewing its proposals at a public exhibition and online.

David Wilson Homes, part of the Barratt Group, is displaying the scheme to local residents between 2.30pm and 8pm tomorrow (Thursday 12th September) at Clock Barn Hall, Hambledon Road. It is available online at www.dwhmilfordhospital.co.uk

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Milford Hospital Unveils Plaque – Galton & Simpson

June 1st saw a significant event for the history of Milford Hospital.  Two former patients returned to see a plague unveiled to mark their meeting in 1948.  Ray Galton & Alan Simpson met as 19 year olds suffering from TB.  They stayed for many years receiving treatment – but their time was well spent.  The started to write comedy sketches together, which were performed on the rudimentary hospital radio service.     They went on to become the foremost comedy scriptwriters – creating Hancock and Steptoe and Sons, and a huge catalogue of shows over the following decades.    The plaque was unveiled by their friend and performer Paul Merton.

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I had the privilege to meet the guys a few years ago, as part of my research for the Milford Hospital History Website.   They described to me in detail their years at Milford, and most interestingly, the location of the original laundry cupboard in which they built their radio studio – arguably the “Birthplace of the British Sit-Com.

You can find the story here.

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Tuesley Farm Community Path

ImageThe recently established community footpath across Tuesley Farm has been upgraded with new wooden signs and improvements to the surface.

The footpath was provided by the Hall Hunter Partnership, owners of Tuesley Farm, as a condition of planning permission for polytunnels.

Because it crosses a working soft fruit farm some areas had become churned up by agricultural vehicles.

Harry Hall, who runs the farm, has now provided a hard surface on these area and erected wooden signposts. The path, which is not a Surrey County Council public right of way but may be used by walkers and cyclists, runs from Station Lane, close to the Hydestile Crossroads, to Tuesley Lane where it links up with the roadside footpath to Milford Station, shops, Rodborough School and Milford Hospital.

It has not been possible to secure permission from adjacent landowners for the path to exit onto Hambledon Road, so walkers have to negotiate a short stretch of Station Lane., which has no verge or pavement.

However, it is a welcome addition to the local footpath network and provides an alternative to walking along the narrow Station Lane to reach Milford and the station.

* The Hall Hunter Partnership has been given planning permission to provide accommodation for seasonal workers on land at Tuesley Farm and for the conversion of an exisiting building for this purpose. It has also obtained permission to to install a winter storage reservoir in a field to the east of Tuesley Lane.