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Vital bus services at risk due to £1.5m cuts

The council plans to cut subsidies for all evening and Sunday services in Macclesfield and the borough.

Arriva bus at Macclesfield Bus Station

Bus users could be left stranded in the evenings and weekends as the council plans to reduce spending, it has been warned.

Cheshire East Council subsidises bus routes which private operators do not deem as financially viable, including the less popular services on Sundays and in the evenings.

But council bosses have put forward plans to save £1.5 million a year from its budget by scrapping some subsidies, meaning the private operators may choose to withdraw them completely.

Among the routes that could lose their subsidies are the number 10 from Macclesfield to Bollington, the number 9 from Macclesfield to the Moss Rose and the number 38 from Macclesfield to Crewe.

Coun Nick Mannion, who represents the Macclesfield West and Ivy ward, said: “I’m horrified by this. It affects the most vulnerable people and leaves people in places like Bollington and the Weston abandoned.

“We have an air pollution crisis and are supposed to be encouraging people to use public transport. This is not going to help the regeneration of the town and the night-time economy. It’s completely unacceptable.”

The number 10 from Macclesfield to Bollington could lose all council funding for its evening and Sunday services.

Also affected is the number 9 from Macclesfield to the Moss Rose, which runs in the evenings and on Sundays but could lose its Sunday funding. The number 38 from Macclesfield to Crewe could lose its evening and Sunday funding.

Sunday services on route 130 from Macclesfield to Wilmslow and Manchester could no longer be supported and Sunday buses could be lost on the 58 route to Buxton and Bakewell as Cheshire East states it will ‘only contribute from Monday to Saturday’.

All subsidies could be stopped for the 99 bus between Macclesfield and Congleton and there will be timetable changes to other routes.

Liz Welton, chairman of Activity in Retirement in Macclesfield, said people should be encouraged to use the bus. She said: “Many older people in Macclesfield rely on the buses and what about people coming to the Treacle Market on a Sunday? There’s such little parking as it is.”

In a joint statement, Jane Munro and Debbie Quinn, who run the Treacle Market, said: “The conversations and sociability that happen at Treacle are a small part of the wider glue that keep the town’s communities alive and thriving.

“Communities don’t just happen the rest of the week! Macclesfield is actively seeking to boost its footfall, entice visitors and enhance its cultural offer all week including Sundays and evenings.

“The withdrawal of support for public transport is fundamental to the outcome and overall success of this.”

The services affected are run by Arriva and High Peak.

A spokesman for Arriva, which runs bus services from Macclesfield, said the firm awaits the outcome of the proposals, adding: “We will need to take stock of the impact on our business and customers. Currently we have no plans to operate more commercial services.”

High Peak did not respond to our request for a comment.

A 10-week public consultation into the proposal was rubber stamped by Cabinet yesterday (Tuesday, May 9).

Speaking at the meeting, Coun David Brown, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “We spend £3.5m funding bus services and are proposing to save £1.5m through a service review.

“I would urged residents, parish councils and town councils to have their say. We will look very closely at those responses.

“The last thing we want is to provide services that no one will benefit from.”

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