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Cuts to Vital Bus Service

Labour blasts Tory Council for severing Middlewich bus links with our nearest railway stations


At the full Council meeting yesterday (Thursday 28 February) Labour proposed an amendment to the Tory budget for £50,000 to be put into the 37E bus service, that links Middlewich with Sandbach and Winsford stations, so that it can continue into late weekday and Saturday evenings and on Sundays. The Tory controlled council flatly refused to budge on the issue and turned their backs on the people of Middlewich who rely on public transport to get to work, visit relatives or for social and sporting activities.


The 37 and 37E routes are currently subsidised by Cheshire West and Chester Council, but their cuts mean that services will stop in the late evening and on Sunday’s. Cheshire East Council currently offers no subsidy for this vital route, despite the fact that it serves Middlewich, Sandbach and Crewe. Without the Cheshire West subsidy daytime services in Middlewich would be cut to hourly, rather than the current half-hourly, they would finish a 6pm and there would be no service on Sundays.


Labour Town Councillor Steve Mitchell says, “It is a matter of great shame that Cheshire East Council pays nothing towards a popular and well used bus service that is a vital link for Middlewich residents. The fact that we have to rely on Cheshire West money confirms many people’s views that Middlewich is yet again left out on a limb.


“Whilst I very much support the campaign for a Middlewich station, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon. So we must do everything possible to ensure that we have good links with nearby stations at Winsford and Sandbach, giving Middlewich residents access to Liverpool, Manchester, Crewe and beyond.


“I am aware that the buses don’t currently link very well with train services, particularly at Sandbach, which is why passenger numbers maybe fewer than they could be. If Cheshire East were to make a contribution, that would give them a greater say in how the bus route is run for the benefit of residents.


“I am grateful to the Labour Councillors for proposing this amendment that would have saved Middlewich bus services, but remain appalled at the callous actions of the Tory-run Council”.


Labour shadow cabinet member for finance, Councillor Sam Corcoran, who proposed the budget amendment says, “It was dreadfully disappointing to see this modest amendment rejected and it is a real blow for the communities of Sandbach and Middlewich. As a Sandbach Councillor I was very concerned by this service cut because the 37E links Sandbach station with Sandbach town centre. It is another example of where Cheshire East Tories know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.


“The waste and incompetence of this Council has cost residents millions of pounds. I am afraid it is people like us who are paying the price with the loss of basic and essential services”.

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