‘Peace in our time’ declared in Whittlesey as Stagecoach says it WILL use new Grosvenor Road bus stop after all

New bus stops and Whittlesey enhancements.Bus stops and car park, Grosvenor rd. Picture: Steve Will

New bus stops and Whittlesey enhancements.Bus stops and car park, Grosvenor rd. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A bus company has done a U-turn and will now use a new terminus included in a £500,000 revamp to parts of Whittlesey. The bus company’s managing directors denies it is a U-turn.

Stagecoach initially refused to use the new bus stop in Grosvenor Road claiming it would cause too much disruption to its timetable by adding up to five minute delays on journeys between Whittlesey and Peterborough.

The decision looked set to leave the new facility as a white elephant and prompted anger and ridicule on social media sites by Whittlesey residents.

However, the operator has had a change of heart and applied to the Traffic Commissioner asking to change from June 7 to the new bus stop.

Councillor Martin Curtis wrote to Stagecoach’s national chief executive questioning the refusal to use the new bus stop and is delighted with the apparent U-turn.

“I felt it was totally unjustifiable,” he said. “Stagecoach is by far and away the biggest provider of buses in Whittlesey and they were saying it would add between two and five minutes to journey times to use the bus stop.

“I repudiated that position and pointed out their buses were causing problems parking up and waiting in Broad Street and blocking traffic.

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“Now they have changed their minds I don’t want to take credit. I am just pleased they have made the decision and the bus stop will be used for its proper purpose,” said Cllr Curtis, former leader of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach East, denied he had a change of heart.

He said: “I never said we would not use it. I said we would have to assess the situation. We have had an opportunity to monitor the service for two weeks and have identified how we can get back the extra few minutes we need to use the facility.

“We have submitted the short notice application which needs approval so we can change our timetable and where we stop. We were also influenced in our decision by news that the other operator which uses the new facility could lose its operator’s licence, subject to appeal, and it seemed stupid there would be an expensive facility that nobody was going to use.”

Cllr Curtis said the controversy which enveloped the new bus stop on social media including the Whittlesey Free Discussion Facebook Page has led the town council to look at the way it publicises decisions.

Mr Curtis said: “We made the decision to move the buses from the Market Square to protect what is considered the town’s best asset. When we explain that to people most agree it is the right thing to do.

“There has been opposition, but I don’t think it is right to say there has been overwhelming opposition. There have been a few vocal opponents but that is all. They are mostly against it because they don’t like change. But the majority, when they understand why we have instigated the change, are in favour.

“In future we will have to look at the way we explain ourselves and publicise the reasons for our decisions. The benefits of moving the buses off the market square are sound. The square is our biggest asset and when we make proper use of it for big events they are a huge success. Everyone who is attending an event on the market square has to walk past shops and businesses and that can only help our town centre,” said Cllr Curtis.