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Staffordshire businesses and staff left stranded by bus stop decision

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

  • LEFT STRANDED... Swan Pit Kennels staff Emma Harrison, with canine chum Demon, Katie Ratcliffe, Kirsty Hodkinson and Kaitlin Austin.

  • STRANDED... Ron Palmer, proprietor of Swan Pit Nursery, with son Stephen Palmer and staff member Sharon Hartwell.

  • LEFT STRANDED... Swan Pit Kennels staff Emma Harrison, with canine chum Demon, Katie Ratcliffe, Kirsty Hodkinson and Kaitlin Austin.

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FURIOUS staff and customers at two businesses near Gnosall say they have been left stranded by a county council decision to take away their bus stop.

Staffordshire highways staff say the bus stop outside Swan Pit boarding kennels and the nearby Swan Pit Nursery horticultural business is "unofficial" and in a dangerous position, and have instructed the Arriva bus service to stop using it.

But the businesses say the stop has been in use for half a century, and staff are now faced with a one-mile walk along the busy A518 main road, which has no pavements or street lights, to reach the next stop.

"There was no consultation about this," said Ron Palmer, owner of Swan Pit Nursery.

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"One of our staff who travels by public transport got on the bus as usual on Monday and asked for Swan Pit but was told the bus didn't stop there any more.

"She had to walk from Gnosall and she was livid.

"Buses have been stopping here for at least the past 50 years without any problems."

And George McMaster, owner of Swan Pit kennels, said up to five staff depended on the bus service, as well as students from Harper Adams University and further education colleges who worked at the kennels and animal rescue centre on placements.

"You can't expect these young people to leave work in the evening and walk a mile along an unlit main road to the nearest bus stop, especially on dark winter nights" he said.

"We also have a number of people looking for animals to re-home who come here by bus."

The removal of the bus stop comes in the same week that a coroner warned of traffic dangers to pedestrians on another busy stretch of the A518 between Haughton and Stafford after a worker at one of the fruit warms was killed.

An Arriva Bus spokesman said the firm had been told by Staffordshire County Council to discontinue the Swan Pit stop.

Councillor Mark Winnington, Staffordshire's cabinet member for economy, environment and transport said he planned to visit the site himself to see if a solution could be found.

"We are not aware of an official stop ever being at the location," he said.

"We need to ensure that all our bus stops are safe for both pedestrians and motorists, and our officers, along with Arriva, felt that it would not be possible to locate a bus stop at this specific location due to the road layout."

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  • kstafford  |  August 22 2014, 9:54PM

    The reason the bus stops there because any alternative is extremely dangerous. If people get off and walk, the bus will encounter them in the road, endangering their own previous customers massively, and thats not to mention unsuspecting road users. There is no danger in the bus stopping where it used to, unless other road users are behaving irresponsibly. Many using the road are speeding and over taking on a stretch of road with double white lines. Would you want to walk around an S bend in these conditions! And with the winter coming... Without a resolution there most certainly will be an accident if bus users become pedestrians walking along a main road in the dark without any path! And I would like to reiterate, around an S bend!

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