Community minibus plan for Norton
Proposals for a community minibus service to ferry passengers from Worcestershire Parkway station through Norton to Tesco in St Peter’s have been submitted to Wychavon District Council.
The proposals have been devised to counter the axing during the autumn of previous bus services for residents of Norton and Littleworth.
They have been sent to Wychavon District Council in response to the authority’s invitation for projects seeking funding under its Community Legacy Grant scheme.
The community minibus scheme was the most popular option among Norton and Littleworth residents following a local consultation carried out by Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council asking which project they would most favour.
Parish councillor John Waizeneker, who is leading the community minibus grant application, said: “At one time we had something like an hourly bus service through this parish six days a week. It’s now down to one bus a day.
“There’s a couple more when schools are in.
“Essentially, we have got one bus each day to get into Worcester.
“There’s no connection proposed to Parkway so there just seems a gap there.
“The more I talked to people the general perception was that it's worth pursuing.”
The proposed service – the Norton Connector – would be a community minibus service running a regular scheduled round trip from Worcestershire Parkway station via Littleworth (reversing at Norton Parish Hall), Norton and Brockhill to St Peter’s Tesco.
When fully developed it would run from early morning until perhaps 10pm six or seven days a week.
Initially the service would run Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 4.30pm every two hours – four round trips a day.
That would be for a period of six months to a year, during which time demand would build, the schedule fine tuned and its viability proved.
If proven, the service could be extended to cover the full day.
Among benefits it would provide are transport to Tesco and other facilities in St Peter’s, connection to the 32 bus service into Worcester, easy movement around Norton, including to the parish hall and its expanding community facilities.
Anyone who would like to get involved in the community minibus project can contact John Waizeneker at email@example.com.
Wychavon District Council will decide by March which projects will be approved for a Community Legacy Grant.
Norton-juxta-Kempsey parish councillor John Waizeneker
Grant would allow time to test viability of minibus service
Making bus services self-financing is always challenging, Norton-juxta-Kempsey parish councillor John Waizeneker has admitted.
He explained that the application for a Community Legacy Grant for the proposed Norton Connector was to support the service from its inception to allow time to prove the demand and viability during the first one to two years.
Initially, to avoid major capital investment, Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council will partner with Worcester Wheels in a contract to provide the service for six months to a year.
During that time, as well as proving the viability of the service the long-term operating model would be decided.
Options considered then would include continuing with Worcester Wheels, setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC) to operate the service or whether to lease or buy the minibuses.
Weekend services would be another future option to be explored and there could be opportunities to extend services to take in other local communities, such as Kempsey and Stoulton.
What do you think? Do you live in Norton and would you use a community minibus to get into St Peter's, the city centre and the new Parkway station? Email us with your views at firstname.lastname@example.org