New community minibus service to launch thanks to council funding
A new community minibus service which will make regular trips to Worcestershire Parkway Railway Station is set to launch next week thanks to funding from Wychavon.
Starting from 14 September 2020, the Norton Connector will initially run every two hours between 8.30am and 4.30pm from Monday to Friday.
The 30 minute route will start from Worcestershire Parkway Railway Station and travel via Littleworth, Norton and Brockhill to St Peters Tesco.
Led by Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council in partnership with Worcester Wheels, the service will run for a trial period of six to 12 months with the aim of sustaining the service in the long-term.
Wychavon District Council awarded the parish council a Community Legacy Grant of £30,000.
The project, which fits with Wychavon's promise to support community-led rural transport initiatives, aims to give residents reliable, regular and reasonably priced access to transport links and basic amenities.
A launch event was held on Friday, 4 September at Norton Parish Hall in Littleworth to celebrate the service. Representatives from Wychavon District Council, Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council, Worcestershire County Council, Worcester Wheels and MP for Mid-Worcestershire, Nigel Huddleston were in attendance.
Kevin Fincher, Chairman if Norton-juxta-Kempsey Parish Council, said: "The Parish Council is very appreciative of the funding support from Wychavon and the success of the combined project team from Worcestershire County Council, Worcester Wheels and the Parish Council in delivering the Norton Connector. Many of our residents will now have regular access to shops and other transport links which has been completely lacking since the bus services were withdrawn".
Cllr Rob Adams, Portfolio Holder for Strong Communities, Culture and Sport at Wychavon District Council, said: "We are very pleased to be supporting the Norton Connector minibus service. It will be a much-needed lifeline for residents within the community to access not only transport links such as the railway station but also basic amenities such as the doctors or the supermarket. It is great to see that the Community Legacy Grant funding has made this a reality".
The Community Legacy Grant scheme is a £3 million fund for innovative, ambitious, viable capital projects that meet local needs and that will create a significant community legacy. The scheme also provides start-up funding for smaller, innovative schemes that address local need.
The scheme is funded through New Homes Bonus payments from the government and there are three annual bidding rounds open to parish and town councils. Expressions of interest for the third round opened on 7 September 2020.
Visit www.wychavon.gov.uk/community-and-living/new-homes-bonus for more information on New Homes Bonus funding.