Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, and councillors John Ward and Judy Leggett are campaigning for the right buses to serve Sprowston, after First Buses have remobilised services across the city with some changes, including the 11A route.
Residents are concerned that the 11A Pink Line service is now going entirely along Wroxham Road, leaving out the Linacre Avenue loop. Chloe has raised this already with First Buses, who say they want to focus resources on the busiest sections of services, and provide main road links that are as frequent as possible to key destinations such as supermarkets. In part, this is because they are able to carry fewer passengers with social distancing.
First Buses explain that this service faced changes anyway, because the loop around Linacre Avenue used to be needed to turn around when Blue Boar Lane was the end of the route. Now that buses go into the White House Farm development, they say it has made the loop of extremely limited use for anything other than alighting.
The changes on this bus route has caused problems for some, especially those that are not as mobile and cannot make the walk to Wroxham Road. This service is critical for those that live nearby as it is their only source of transport to hospital appointments and going into the city.
First Buses have been in discussion with Norfolk County Council regarding the potential of diverting a council-funded service already operating in the vicinity into some of the area that is now unserved by them, a change which they are currently considering that they may be able to make at relatively short notice.
Chloe Smith MP, along with local councillors Cllr John Ward and Cllr Judy Leggett, is campaigning for First Bus and Norfolk County Council to work together on finding a replacement bus which would take on this route. Chloe says:
“I have been contacted by many constituents regarding the 11A bus route along Linacre Avenue, which has been suspended by First Buses. Many just can’t walk all the way to Wroxham Road for the alternative. As their MP I’m working with local councillors to represent their needs, passing them onto First Buses, and pressing for a solution this problem. We want the right bus routes for Sprowston residents.”
Update: This issue seems to have cross – party support, with local Labour activists starting a petition which you can access here: https://www.change.org/p/first-bus-norfolk-and-suffolk-first-bus-please-reinstate-the-linacre-loop-to-your-sprowston-bus-service?recruiter=38996451&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=tap_basic_share&recruited_by_id=529d3990-44b4-0130-c485-3c764e049b13&utm_content=fht-23493948-en-gb%3A1