Bus victory for our Derby House tenant
Independent Living tenant Julia Hesketh is delighted her campaigning efforts mean a popular bus route will now stop outside Derby House, in Wesham.
Julia felt so impassioned that many of her fellow residents were struggling to get a bus, she embarked on a two-year crusade to get the number 78 service stopping at Derby House again.
Lancashire County Council has confirmed the service will now stop in Derby Road, Park Lane and Mowbreck Lane from 29 May. This is excellent news, as it means our Derby House tenants can now access the service to travel into Kirkham and Lytham.
Julia said: “There are a lot of older people living here in Derby House and we find it hard to walk down to the main street, especially with heavy shopping, and taxis are expensive. If we are doing a weekly food shop at Morrisons in Kirkham, we are adding on another £10.
"There used to be a bus here before I moved here six years ago, but it got taken off because there was not enough people using it and also the hospital behind us closed. We felt left behind and nobody cared about us.
“So I thought it would be great to get the bus back on again and contacted my local MP, Mark Menzies. I also spoke to my local councillor, Stuart Jones, who has been very helpful. I have been campaigning for these bus stops for two years and I have never given up. I am really passionate about this, so I am pleased they have listened to us.
“I am surprised how much this bus means to residents. One man told me he could see his mum again – he must have been so lonely. This will give everyone their lives back.
“Now we have access to this service, maybe we can get other buses from Derby House – possibly the 61 which goes to Blackpool. It would give us more freedom. But we really must use this service, as I fear we could lose it again.”
Julia, who has one daughter, moved into Derby House six years ago with her husband Felix after running The New Hampshire Hotel in Blackpool.
She says she enjoys the social side that the independent living scheme brings: “I came here because I am very sociable and I like people. I have met a lot of friends here and everyone is very welcoming. Progress Housing Group is listening to us about how we would like the place to look and things have started to get modernised, which is great.”
County Councillor Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "It's really good to hear from residents like Mrs Hesketh as it shows how our investment in the rural bus network is making a difference in people's lives.
"Following requests for the No 78 service to also serve Derby Road, Park Lane and Mowbreck Lane we added the diversion as part of a recent tender renewal process.
"I'm very pleased that from May 29, residents in the area will be able to easily catch this bus rather than walking some distance to the main road.
"Through our recently published Bus Service Improvement Plan, we are committed to improving Lancashire’s bus services to make sure they provide a high quality reliable link to and from the locations that residents actually need.
"These improvements cannot be made in isolation and it is important that we work with partners and so this collaboration with Progress Housing Group is really positive."