Community bus doubt

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THE future of the Stonehaven Community Bus is in doubt, after Aberdeenshire Council’s Community Learning and Development department said they no longer wished to run it.

Member Ian Hunter reported to Stonehaven Community Council on Tuesday on a meeting at which the future of the bus and who might run it, was discussed.

Mr Hunter said: “The community centre say policy is that they no longer want to run the community bus and they want the community to take it over.

“There is a real need for this bus. A community bus was originally the idea of a community worker at the community centre 30 years ago.

“There is currently £20,000 in a fund for a new bus, but a new vehicle would cost around £40,000.

“I would like to know who came up with the policy that community centres do not run community buses.

“Area manager Willie Munro did not know about the decision before the meeting and it appears to me that the area committee do not have much say in how the community centre is run.”

Councillor Peter Bellarby said there would be a further meeting between councillors and others to see what support there was for running the community bus and Councillor Graeme Clark said they were looking at other places to see how their community buses were run.

Councillor Bellarby said: “Community Learning and Development used to make considerable use of the bus but now they do not, so the peramaters have changed.”

In answering questions from fellow community councillors, Mr Hunter said the drivers of the bus were all volunteers. The exisiting bus is ten years old and could probably go on for another two or three years.

Councillor Clark said the bus was a valued asset in that it has a disabled ramp adding: “The bus is a great facility and we need it.”