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  • The car park with part of the lakeside park in the foreground
    Article: Jun 24, 2022
    By Cllr Vilnis Vesma

    I have been working with Newent's business community to help keep the town centre viable, for example by brokering the handover of the dormant business club, along with its financial assets, to a new committee representing enthusiastic proprietors of shops and other walk-in businesses.

    Last week, on behalf of Newent's new business club committee, I filed an expression of interest under the so-called 'UK Shared Prosperity Fund'. If our bid is successful we will get £17,500 to carry out a feasibility study and prepare sketch designs for revamping the main car park (pictured). The car park, which is owned and operated by the Forest of Dean District Council, is not only awkwardly laid out and unattractive but is screened from the charming lakeside park by a row of waste recycling containers. It should be possible to revise the car-park layout and blend it with the lakeside park to make it an attractive landing point for visitors and local shoppers alike. In the process we could creating an adaptable civic space that could host occasional markets, pop-up food and beverage vendors and other facilities or activities that would enhance the town.

  • Buses4Us poster array
    Article: Mar 30, 2022
    By Gill Moseley
    Following the axing of the Stagecoach 132 route and most of the 32 route beyond Newent to Ross, we have the go-ahead for a trial 26-week shopper service to connect Dymock and Kilcot & Gorsley residents to Newent, twice a week. Details of timetable and days to follow shortly. The first 13 weeks are being funded by Gloucestershire County Council and further funding is being sourced from local councils, businesses and crowdfunding.
  • £ sign
    Article: Mar 14, 2022
    By Gill Moseley

    Each Gloucestershire County Councillor is allocated two pots of funding during their four-year term of office. County divisions can be widespread or concentrated areas and can include a number of parishes or a single town, and so consideration needs to be given to a fair distribution of funds within each division. There are eight divisions in the Forest of Dean District.

  • Page: Mar 13, 2022
    LEDBURY TOWN COUNCIL'S STAGECOACH BUS CUTS MEETING
    On Wednesday 9th March, Ledbury Town Council hosted a meeting to discuss the way forward following the Stagecoach bus routes withdrawal on the 132/32 routes.
    It was a well-attended meeting and has been reported on Gloucestershire Live. Stagecoach manager James O'Neill, explained the reasons behind the cuts and Cllr John Harrington, who has responsibility for community transport in Herefordshire, informed the meeting of the lack of available funding for subsidising routes that were not commercially viable. However, after much discussion and listening to the views of members of the public, councillors urged the two county authorities to resume talks with the aim of providing some sort of replacement service for the local communities who are severely disadvantaged by the Stagecoach cuts.
    In the meantime, through the Buses4Us local campaign group, a temporary solution is being proposed. Funding is being sought for a three month trial service to link the local villages with Newent, run by Newent Community Transport, twice a week.
    There is likely to be an initial subscription needed for the service of £5. Concessionary passes will be accepted and the return fare for those without a pass will be around £3. It is unusual for a timetabled service to be provided at short notice and this is being carried out as exceptional provision. More details to follow.
    If enough people use this service and fill out the survey (link to follow) we hope that a longer term, permanent solution will be determined by the two county councils in whose area the axed Stagecoach buses used to run.
    The expression "Use it or lose it" was never more relevant.
    As well as people being cut off from essential activities and services, our community needs to switch from private car usage wherever possible, to public transport, in order to reduce our carbon emissions. Without reliable public transport, that is not going to happen in this area between Newent, Ledbury and Ross.
    This will be on the agenda at Newent Town Council's meeting on Monday 14th March, 7pm at the Community School. Members of the public are welcome to attend and some will be able to speak in the public participation time at the start of the meeting.
  • 132 at bus stop in Newent
    Article: Mar 3, 2022
    By Gill Moseley
    132/32 STAGECOACH BUS ROUTES CUTS - UPDATE
    Saturday morning's bus campaign meeting (Feb 26th) at The George Hotel proved without doubt that people have a need for these routes between Newent and Ledbury/Ross, which Stagecoach West bus company has said are not commercially viable due to low passenger numbers.
    Now we wait for that clear need to be substantiated through surveys and up-to-date statistics.
    If you were not able to get to the meeting and need a survey to register your need for a bus service towards Ross or Ledbury, PLEASE WATCH THIS SPACE. Digital copies of the survey will be available next week and hard copies will be left in various public places for people to collect and return.
    Clearly, the community has been let down by poor publicity and lack of co-ordinated effort by the various responsible organisations, but now we need to move forward as quickly and as positively as possible to try to get some replacement service.
    Car sharing is being organised for some pupils and college students, Newent Dial-A-Ride operates between 10-2 weekdays, and there are a few community bus routes that may help with shopper services during the week but they barely touch the missing 132/32 routes at present. Details of Newent Community Transport, which runs the scheduled shopper services and Dial-A-Ride, can be found at https://www.sheppardhouse.co.uk/#position or phone 01531 821227
    There is also a little-known scheduled bus service to Hereford from Newent every Wednesday and Saturday from the bus stop by Newent Library. The 456 runs through Dymock and Much Marcle, the 457 through Kilcot, Gorsley and Upton Bishop. It costs less than £5 return and concessionary passes are valid. This allows for visits of two or three hours in Hereford. As well as the timetables at the Newent Library bus stop, there are details at:
    https://bustimes.org/services/456-newent-dymock-much-marcle-brockhampton-kings-
    https://www.geopunk.co.uk/timetables/west-midlands/herefordshire/457-newent-hereford
    Lastly, there will be a virtual public meeting organised by Ledbury Town Council on Wednesday March 9th at 6.30pm to which all stakeholders are invited. Email clerk@ledburytowncouncil.gov.uk or ring 01531 631306 for the link. Since these routes cross the county borders and ran/run for a substantial part of their Newent/Ledbury and Newent/Ross legs in Herefordshire, it is essential that the two county Local Transport Authorities talk to each other to find a solution. Those authorities are the Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council.