Anger as popular Leigh Park bus service will no longer run in the evenings

Bus users are worried about being stranded in West Leigh
Bus users are worried about being stranded in West Leigh
Poundworld went into administration in May. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Poundworld stores in Portsmouth and Havant to close next week

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PEOPLE in West Leigh will have no evening service in the new year following cuts by Hampshire County Council.

Following a consultation to find where savings could be made in the £18m bus subsidy budget at the county it was decided the No. 21 bus, which runs from Portsmouth, through Anchorage Park, Havant and West Leigh, would be reduced.

There will be no buses running from Portsmouth after 7pm on any night.

Users have been left furious at the cuts which Stagecoach says is down to the cutting of subsidies by the council.

Marc Maran, 43, of Woodcot Crescent, West Leigh, said: ‘This will leave only the 23 serving Portsmouth and will cut off West Leigh after 7pm.

‘I have lots of family in Leigh Park who I visit and will either have to walk, get a cab or have to get back by 7pm.

‘A lot of elderly residents in West Leigh go to bingo in the evenings and use the 21 to get back to West Leigh.

‘I speak to an elderly gentleman at the bus stop in Dunsbury Way who is devastated that he won’t be able to visit his daughter and grandchildren in the evenings after work and school.’

Another part of the cuts will mean pensioners cannot use their free bus passes until 9.30am, rather than 9am.

Councillor Sean Woodward, responsible for transport at the county council, said the decision was taken following a consultation involving 3,000 people which had to be carried out because of ‘severe budget pressures’ over £100m savings which need to be made.

Cllr Woodward said the services people most wanted saved were daytime – for commuting and getting to health appointments.

‘This is as a result of government cutting its grant to Hampshire by 43 per cent over four years,’ said Cllr Woodward.

‘We’ve looked at how we make best use of the money available to subsidise bus services that private operators won’t run because there are not enough people using them to make them commercially viable.’

He added: ‘Hampshire County Council has contributed to Portsmouth City Council for contracted late evening journeys on the number 21 and 23 from Portsmouth to Havant and Leigh Park for several years.

‘The reduced budget means that the 21 will no longer run beyond Portsmouth in the evenings. However, while Portsmouth City Council funding remains, evening journeys will continue to Havant and Leigh Park on the 23.’