Good news for the bus service running from Penrith to Pooley Bridge via Eamont Bridge, Yanwath and Tirril. Despite fears last week that, due to a funding shortfall, the route would cease to operate during the construction of Pooley ‘New’ Bridge, three parish councils have rallied round, dug deep and raised the necessary funding.
Digging into their own limited reserves, Barton & Pooley Bridge, Sockbridge & Tirril and Yanwath & Eamont Bridge Parish Councils have been able to raise enough money to allow Stagecoach to offer a limited but regular service five days a week on the newly-named 108 route which replaces the part of the 508 isolated by the closure.
Due to the bridge construction work Stagecoach rerouted the 508 bus service from Patterdale via the A592, with a stop at the temporary car park at Waterfoot. At just under a mile’s walk away from the village centre, this would have caused real difficulties to elderly residents, employees vital to the village economy and tourists making the effort to travel by public transport.
Stagecoach offered the services of both a bus and driver, but required around £3700 to pay for fuel and maintenance costs during the period of construction. Cumbria County Council refused to support this on the grounds that it is their policy not to subsidise bus services.
Chair of Barton and Pooley Bridge Parish Council, Miles MacInnes commented: “We’ve fought hard and dug deep to raise the funding for this service and it’s vital that those who need it, use it as much as possible it offers great opportunities for shopping and leisure. We are really disappointed that Cumbria County Council couldn’t underwrite this modest cost, but it’s gratifying to see the three parish councils whose residents and businesses are most affected along with a number of other individuals and organisations, have come together in the spirit of community to put in place a service which we hope will cover the construction period of the new bridge.”
Mark Whitelocks MD of Stagecoach Cumbria said, “I am delighted that we have been able to work with the communities along the route to maintain this link during the closure period. By working together and sharing the costs we are keeping people connected to shopping and employment.”
Construction of Pooley ‘New’ Bridge is now underway, with works due to be finished late Spring 2020. In the meantime, Pooley Bridge is very much open for business and with a temporary footbridge now linking both sides of the valley plus a temporary car park on the Ullswater Steamers’ side of the village, businesses and locals are looking forward to ‘business as usual’. However, in true entrepreneurial spirit, they have worked closely with the Pooley ‘New’ Bridge project team to create a raft of inventive ways of encouraging people to visit the village over the next six months. For more information on all the events, news and developments, visit https://www.ullswater.com/pooleybridge/.