PLANS for a new community transport hub have been withdrawn in light of concerns of local leaders.
The proposal to build a new community transport hub in Ewloe and Hawarden has been slammed by members of Hawarden Community Council at their latest meeting, who say they were not correctly consulted about the proposal, and have also questioned the need for the hub in the area.
The hubs are a county-wide scheme by Flintshire Council, with the idea being that they are operated locally, supported by both the town and community councils and the county council.
The proposed service will follow a wide variety of forms, including the use of local community taxi services, the community operating its own mini bus service and local bus services providing links to the main commercial bus services.
As a result of the complaints raised, all work on the transport hub on Holywell Road B5125, Ewloe, has been stopped and no work to introduce any hubs/bus stops in Ewloe or Hawarden will take place until further consultation.
Following drop-in events held in Northop Hall, it was identified that Ewloe would be one of the preferred locations for a transport hub, according to Katie Wilby, transportation and logistics manager at Flintshire Council.
Mrs Wilby said people from Northop Hall would be able to access local services and facilities, and connect to mainline bus services for onward travel to Mold, Buckley, Deeside Industrial Park and Cheshire.
“In light of the issues and concerns raised on Monday evening, I can confirm that all work on the transport hub on Holywell Road B5125 has been stopped, save for tidying up and reinstating the footway to a safe standard,” Mrs Wilby said.
“No further work will take place at this location and no work to introduce any hubs/bus stops in Ewloe or Hawarden will take place until further consultation has taken place with the elected members and community council after the May elections.
“Officers will come back to the community council and members with any proposals for hub locations after May 2017.”
Mrs Wilby said that because attendance to a drop-in event held in Hawarden was low, and the community is currently well served by commercial bus services, there was very little interest in the proposed community hub to be built.
“Consequently, there was little or no interest in developing a community based transport service in the area and it was felt that the project couldn’t be taken any further for the time being,” she said.
“If this situation were to change, we would be pleased to reconsider this and spend time with yourselves to identify the demand and needs of the community.”
Another concern from the community councillors was that they would have to pay for the transport services themselves, and that ultimately the community would take on responsiblity for running the hub.
In response, Mrs Wilby said: “I am aware that Harvey (Harvey Mitchell, Flintshire Council’s Environmental Services officer) mentioned that the Community Council would have to pay to run the transport services in the future.
“The purpose of the ongoing community transport project is to introduce less costly, community based transport services, which will replace any uneconomical subsidised bus routes in the county and reduce the impact of service changes within the community.
“Ultimately, the aim is that the pilot schemes in operation or in the process of being set up at the moment will become self-sustainable, by using smaller, more appropriate vehicles for the numbers and types of passengers travelling and by integrating with other transport services, such as school transport and social services transport.”
Mrs Wilby added: “Clearly, if Hawarden and Ewloe are well served by commercially viable bus services at present, then there is no reason why this shouldn’t continue to be the case and, therefore no funding for alternative transport services would be required.”