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I’ll be trapped in my home

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Twice a week, pensioner Mick Graham takes two buses across town to visit his grandchildren.

He relies on the services to see his family as well as getting him out of his bungalow for a few hours.

But now, proposals by Lancashire County Council could see one of the vital buses Mick uses cut in the evenings and at weekends.

If the move goes ahead, Mick, 67, would struggle to see his family and fears the cuts would leave him trapped in his own home.

He is even considering asking for a council transfer to a property nearer his family so he isn’t completely isolated.

Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw last week said the proposed cuts – which would be introduced in May and would save the council £3.8m over two years – will “isolate many people and damage the local economy”.

His office has been inundated with more than 500 letters and emails from constituents concerned about the plans.

A petition set up at www.change.org by local resident Ursula Gallie has also received more than 800 signatures.

Under the proposals, services across the Lancaster district which would be affected are: Service 5 Overton to Carnforth, Service 7 Lancaster to Marsh and Vale, Service 10 Lancaster to Ridge, Service 40 Morecambe to Preston, Service 42 Lancaster to Blackpool, Service 51 Lancaster to Silverdale, Service 55 Lancaster to Carnforth, Services 81A and B Lancaster to Kirkby Lonsdale and Service 89 Lancaster to Knott End.

Retired welder Mick has lived in his Ambleside Road council home on the Ridge estate since 2000.

His son Samuel, daughter-in-law Tammy and three grandchildren Charlotte, 16, Eleanor, 12, and four-year-old William live two bus rides away in Scale Hall.

For every visit, Mick takes the number 10 bus from near his home into Lancaster city centre, where he then boards the 3a service to his son’s house.

Mick said: “I go to see them during the week and on Sundays.

“This has frightened me. I am already thinking about trying to move.

“I am not getting any younger and although I am lucky I am still quite fit at the moment, there are a lot of vulnerable people around.

“I can understand where they are coming from because sometimes there are not many people on the buses, but people are depending on them.

“I don’t drive so this is my only transport. I wouldn’t be able to afford taxis, it’s just out of the question, and I don’t want to put the family out by making them drive.”

Mick, whose wife Chrystal died 23 years ago, said the cuts would leave him feeling cut off.

Mick said: “I sometimes go for a drink in the evening,” he said. “All we have on the Ridge is one shop so you have to go into Lancaster for shopping or to have a drink.

“I have nothing to rush home for but if they stop the evening buses I would have to be home before 6pm so I would be confined to the house.

“That’s the worrying part of it – I would be stuck in my home most of the time.”

Members of the public have until tomorrow, January 17, to make representations to Lancashire County Council.

You can email responses to lcc.bus.services@lancashire.gov.uk or by post to Bus and Supported Transport Manager, Lancashire County Council, Room D3, PO Box 100, County Hall, Preston, PR1 0LD.

A decision will be made at a full council meeting on February 20.

 

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