'Fight On' Hopper Bus Call(January 15, 2016)
A Warminster town councillor is urging everyone to fight on to save the RUH Hopper bus after county hall revealed that as things stand the service is set to end in May.
"I have spoken to Wiltshire Council today and they have sent me a statement that the service is due to cease in May but crucially they have confirmed that a councillor still has to take the decision under delegated powers," said Cllr. Paul Macdonald.
"The cabinet member Cllr. Philip Whitehead will have to sign off on this."
It is Independent Wiltshire and town councillors that have ben leading the opposition.
"So much for democracy'" said Wiltshire councillor Terry Chivers. "Hundreds of Wiltshire residents continue to sign our petition to save the RUH Hopper service, yet today Conservative Wiltshire Council announce this vital service is being axed without any date."
The RUH Hopper bus campaign has not appeared on the agenda of an important Wiltshire Council meeting first alerting Cllr. Macdonald earlier this week that the decision will now be taken behind closed doors.
"I checked the agenda of the Cabinet meeting next week after having met with Independent Wiltshire Councillor
Terry Chivers to discuss the future of the Hopper service to Bath last weekend," said Town Councillor Paul Macdonald.
> "Terry has been working very hard with Independent Wiltshire Councillors Helen and Jeff Osborne on our behalf to press our case at county hall with some success. I wanted to there to support them," said Paul on Wednesday
"I had intended to speak at that meeting. This was going to be an important chance to press the cabinet which includes Warminster Conservative councillors as voting members."
The RUH Hopper bus petition attracted thousands of signatures and saw it given a reprieve last year after the outcry to allow time for an approach to various parts of the NHS to help find an answer.
"It seems that Wiltshire Council want to make the Hopper decision behind closed doors and not directly involve the public," said Cllr. Helen Osborne on Wednesday.
"This is not good enough. Too many people depend on the Hopper to access the RUH. We fear they want to cease funding it and want to do it in secret.”
“This makes a mockery of democracy," added Cllr. Terry Chivers. "We know there are hundreds of local people who want to have their say on this vital matter.”
Campaigners across the county are still awaiting the publication of the results of the recently concluded survey of Hopper bus users.
The RUH Hopper bus service is based in the town of Warminster which is the furthest away from the hospital in Bath.
"My next opportunity to speak on this is the full council of Wiltshire Council on Tuesday 23rd February," adds Paul.
"I am now really concerned that the decision will have been made by then."
*You can still sign one of the on-line petitions: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/campaign-to-save-ruh-hopper-bus#