‘Don’t cut us off’ - concerns over bus service during Middle Rasen flood works

The A46 through Middle Rasen will be closed for seven weeks starting from the beginning of September.
The A46 through Middle Rasen will be closed for seven weeks starting from the beginning of September.

A Faldingworth grandmother says plans to stop bus services in the village for up to seven weeks will cut them off.

Pamela Gregson and her husband regularly use the bus service to attend medical appointments in Market Rasen and Lincoln.

But, the buses serving Faldingworth and Middle Rasen will be temporarily halted as of next Monday, September 3, while road closures are in place on the A46 as Lincolnshire County Council undertakes a £600,000 flood prevention scheme in Middle Rasen.

Mrs Gregson said: “It is cutting Faldingworth off, they haven’t given us a thought.

“Why they didn’t do it during the school holidays I will never know.

“My husband and I use the bus a few times a week for hospital appointments in Lincoln, and our doctor’s is in Market Rasen.”

Mrs Gregson also says that her granddaughter, who attends school in Welton, will have to find alternative transport.

She added: “It is not just about me and my granddaughter, this is going to affect the whole of Faldingworth.”

In a letter to residents affected by the works, LCC apologised for the interruption in bus services.

The letter went on to say: “The Stagecoach Interconnect 53 service will not be serving bus stops in Faldingworth or Middle Rasen for the period of the A46 Gainsborough Road closure.

“During this period, the bus stops in Faldingworth and Middle Rasen will be served by the Call Connect Bus Service.”

However, Mrs Gregson says the Call Connect Bus Service is not a good enough solution, as to use the service you must call a week in advance.

The service also operates on a first come, first served basis.

Mrs Gregson said: “What happens if you need an emergency doctor’s appointment, you can’t predict when you could fall ill.”

After speaking to the Stagecoach Group last week, Mrs Gregson said buses could be diverted to Rasen via Friesthorpe, but, at the time of going to press, no timetables or further information had been released.

Mrs Gregson is not the only one who has concerns.

Earlier this month, the Rasen Mail spoke to Helen Taylor who fears ‘all hell will break loose’ when the road closure is implemented.

Ms Taylor, from Middle Rasen, says traffic management in previous works on the road in Middle Rasen led to problems.

She said: “The last time there was a road closure of the A46 (due to re-surfacing works) in Middle Rasen, they plonked a bloke at the end of the road to stop people using it.

“He was too scared of abuse to stop people coming down and we ended up with a racetrack going past our house and through the village with people cutting through.”

“I have a colossal issue with mismanagement of traffic and turning the back lanes of Middle Rasen into a rat run for two months. And believe me, if that happens - all hell will break loose.”

Stagecoach Group was not available for comment on going to press.

A Lincolnshire County Council spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, there’s no safe way to run double-decker buses through Faldingworth and Middle Rasen during the vital flood protection works we have planned.

“We have therefore proactively arranged for CallConnect to provide a temporary replacement for the Interconnect 53 service in these two villages while the work is carried out. There will be sufficient space on the CallConnect service to accommodate the number of people usually using the 53 in Faldingworth and Middle Rasen.

“Meanwhile, Stagecoach has confirmed that their 53 service will be stopping on the road down towards Freisthorpe, at the side of the old Faldingworth garage, providing residents with an alternative stop during the project.

“All other local services will be unaffected.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but it’s essential we make these improvements that will protect 51 homes from flooding.”

To book a place on the CallConnect bus, call 0345 234 3344 or visit www.lincsbus.info .