Scott Mann pledges support for Connect Bude

At a recent meeting with Scott Mann MP, representatives of “Connect Bude” outlined the aims of the group:

  • to campaign to reconnect Bude and Holsworthy to the National Rail Network
  • to promote an improved daily rail service between Okehampton and Exeter
  • to ensure that the trackbed of the former railway line is protected against further development
  • to garner widespread community support of individuals, elected representatives and businesses in order to achieve the above objectives.

Next meeting is Tues 17 July 7.30pm – 9pm at The Falcon (in the Resident’s Lounge upstairs).

Scott Mann confirmed his support for the aims of the group and gave some useful advice on how we could help to ensure the provision of improved connecting bus services between Bude, Holsworthy and Okehampton to link with the proposed new daily rail service which is now being developed by GWR with the support of Okerail.

Representatives of “Connect Bude” encouraged him to speak to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, urgently regarding the specific start date for the trial service from Exeter to Okehampton. He promised to do so.

Scott Mann acknowledged that investment in public transport has been poor in his constituency for decades and that he is determined to do something about it and improve connectivity for his constituents.

Scott Mann MP with representatives of “Connect Bude”, L-R, David Hill-Smith (Professional Railway Adviser), Richard Wolfenden-Brown (Chair) and Mike Moore (Membership Secretary)

Scott’s research assistant, Jamie Goldsmith also attended the meeting and was surprised that Bude was not served by a National Express Coach service and also the time taken by the existing Stagecoach service to Exeter.

He also outlined the investigations which he had already undertaken in relation to this service and how it could be improved to be integrated with the new rail service between Okehampton and Exeter.

These enhancements would need the support of Devon County Council and Cornwall Council both in principle and financially through subsidies. Following the devolution of transport responsibilities, Cornwall Council has already committed to improving connectivity by establishing the “One Public Transport System for Cornwall”. This should enable the council to make the necessary improvements to provide suitable connecting services for the benefit of both residents and visitors to the area.

Scott encouraged “Connect Bude“ to seek the active support of Nigel Blackler, Service Director – Transport and Infrastructure, Cornwall Council.

Finally, the MP pointed out that his parliamentary constituency was one of the very few in the country which did not have a railway station which was part of the national railway network. However, although this is not in his constituency, he continued to support the idea of re-opening the abandoned railway between Okehampton and Bere Alston which would provide a second through route between Exeter and Plymouth which would complement the existing southern coastal route via Dawlish and improve connectivity to parts of East Devon and North Cornwall.

Scott Mann confirmed that he was happy to support the aims of “Connect Bude” and agrees that as more people join the group and demonstrate their support, the more likely it is that trains can, at some point in the future, return to the coast.

“Connect Bude” appreciates the support offered by the MP throughout from his speech at the inaugural meeting of the group back in October 2016 up to this recent meeting. Those interested in improving public transport links in the Bude and Holsworthy area can contact “Connect Bude” on 01288 356537, e-mail connect.bude@gmail.com or www.connectbude.uk

Next meeting is Tues 17 July 7.30pm – 9 pm at The Falcon (in the Residents’ Lounge upstairs).

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