To have your say, complete the WSCC user survey. (Deadline is 18 November 2018)
The background is that bus services to this area were last cut back as recently as 2017, when the 72/3 service was withdrawn and the 74 service was reduced. The surviving services are:
- 74 route: Storrington <-> Horsham. On weekdays, 3 northbound buses & 3 southbound; on Saturdays only 1 service each way. (Note: return journeys to Storrington are not possible);
- 71 route : Storrington <-> Chichester. Weds only, one bus each way.
Bus services through Thakeham are therefore already minimal and since there is no other public transport available, any further reduction of these services will effectively mean Thakeham having no public transport at all. The 74 route is the only limited service through the village every day, connecting with Horsham in the north and Storrington in the south (although 2017 cut-backs mean that we are already in the situation that there is no return service at all between Thakeham and Storrington).
Any further cuts or withdrawal of services would have a severe impact, particularly on vulnerable groups. It would make it impossible for young people in this village to attend 6th form college in Horsham by public transport. It would also mean elderly residents and others without access to private vehicles being unable to visit Horsham for shopping, social and leisure purposes, and losing their already very limited access to Storrington.
The ironic situation is that potential custom for bus services in this area is currently growing strongly, with over 235 new houses permitted and mostly delivered in Thakeham, plus 97 units at the Paula Rosa site in east Storrington and a further 90 houses likely to be built soon at Rock Road (Thakeham Tiles). Current and future residents need to have confidence about bus connections to Storrington and Horsham for work, shopping, education and leisure, else they will be forced into 100% reliance on private vehicles, exacerbating existing problems with air quality and road safety in the area.
We therefore hope that WSCC decision-makers take the strategic view that any further reduction of bus services to Thakeham would be misguided and damaging for local people and the environment.
Thakeham Parish Clerk