‘Bring Woburn Road bus stop back to help disabled residents’

Margaret requested hardstanding at the stop because she fell over there.
Margaret requested hardstanding at the stop because she fell over there.

Frustrated residents are calling on Central Bedfordshire Council to rethink its decision to remove a bus stop from service, claiming it is “unfair” on the disabled.

Margaret Chappell, 79, contacted the council earlier this year to make a request for a hardstanding at a bus stop on Woburn Road, near the A5 ‘Flying Fox’ roundabout.

Mr Brackenbury's idea about where a new bus stop could be positioned.

Mr Brackenbury's idea about where a new bus stop could be positioned.

However, she was left dismayed when instead, she was informed that the bus stop was to become defunct because it was considered a risk.

Margaret said: “I can catch a bus to visit my son, who had a stroke – the stop opposite it is still there – but I have no way of catching a bus back now the stop has been suspended.

“It takes 45 minutes to walk home to Leighton Buzzard and walking at the side of the road is dangerous.”

Her son, Michael, who is disabled and lives 10 minutes away from the stop, claimed: “I believe there are other disabled people who used that stop. It was very short sighted not taking into consideration people’s requirements. I can’t rely on my wife all the time and taxis are expensive .

“I used to go into Leighton Buzzard for a coffee and I had a Tiddenfoot membership, which I’ve had to cancel.”

Resident Peter Brackenbury, who is unable to drive due to rheumatoid arthritis, claimed: “CBC did not offer any consultation to residents.

“However, there have been no fatalities at this stop. Slightly further up the road there is also sufficient space to create a safe bus stop”.

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokeswoman, said: “Unfortunately, the bus stop was removed for safety reasons. It is never a decision we would wish to take, but the safety of the users has to be our priority. We reviewed the bus stop with the police and unfortunately, because it’s a busy road and there is nowhere for the bus to pull in, it is dangerous for both the bus users and other road users.

“We are currently working to provide a bus service in the area from nearby stops to Leighton Buzzard and Woburn. Once this has been agreed we will communicate this to local residents.”

CBC also liaised with Arriva, who serves the stop, and said that it had had concerns over drivers stopping at the Leighton Buzzard bound stop.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman, said: “The bus stop located in Woburn Road, Heath and Reach, was brought to the attention of Bedfordshire Police’s Traffic Management Unit by Central Bedfordshire Council, which requested a police review of the facility.

“During a site visit, it was noted that the bus stop did not have a hardstanding area, the vegetation and uneven ground was hazardous to pedestrians, and its location on the exit of a roundabout had potential issues of causing queuing traffic across the busy A5.

“Recommendations have been offered to Central Bedfordshire Council to consider an appropriate positon of a bus stop near this location and we will work with them to re-assess its suitability.”