Community Transport update

Given the virtually non-existent bus service in central/northern Thakeham, the need for a community transport (CT) scheme is high on the PC’s agenda.  Over the last couple of years we have secured funding for this via the Abingworth development – £91K is now due to come to the PC when the first Abingworth Phase 3 house is occuped.  Also, rather than us reinvent the wheel, it makes sense to partner with an existing CT provider, and we have now developed a detailed plan to work with Community Transport Sussex (CTS).

The way that this will work in detail is set out in detail in our Community Transport Strategy.  But in broad terms it will involve a mix of services including both the minibus operating regular routes and visits to key local destinations, as well as a more bespoke door-to-door service operated by volunteers. CTS operate a fleet of minibuses and cars for door-to-door services, and have begun sourcing electric vehicles for this.

We are also keeping in close touch with developing WSCC policy on bus services, which seem to be moving in a direction that will support the kind of scheme we have planned.  Whether that will amount to direct funding contribution remains to be seen, but we are working ‘with the grain’ of county policy.

Although frustrating delays with getting final planning consent for Abingworth Phase 3 have set back the expected timeline, we now anticipate receiving funding by late 2022, and are working with CTS to prepare for this in terms of inviting local volunteers to get involved and giving publicity to the new scheme.    Anyone who would like to flag their willingness to get involved can contact us, on the understanding that details may be passed to Community Transport Sussex, who will organise volunteers under current plans.

Owen Richards
Parish Clerk