Kent County Council launches consultation on rural bus services – UPDATED.

Hollingbourne Parish Council has been advised by Kent County Council that they are conducting a public consultation or “Big Conversation” on rural bus services including the Number 13 that serves Hollingbourne from Monday to Saturday. Complaints about the service include the two hour wait between services, the almost 40 minute journey time into Maidstone, and the fares. A new timetable was published in June and this is at http://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/new-number-13-bus-times-and-other-local-june-news-in-brief/

The only local public consultation meeting is on 19th July at 7-9pm in County Hall in Maidstone which starts before the last Number 13 bus back to Hollingbourne runs. This means that the local residents without cars and who will be most affected by any changes may find it difficult to get to the Public Consultation. UPDATE for a comment from KCC about this please go to the bottom of the page*.

A special meeting for local Parish Councils is to be held on 18th July in the Great Danes and Parish Clerk, Vicki Smith is planning to attend.

At the Annual Parish Assembly earlier this year, Mr Norman Kemp of Nu Venture who provide Number 13 buses from Monday to Friday told the meeting that local services may be withdrawn if more people do not use them.

One of the reasons why so many houses are being built in villages along the A20 between Maidstone and Ashford is that there is public transport although the morning train service has been cut and the bus service appears to be under threat.

The following has been received by Hollingbourne Parish Council from Kent County Council.

From:             Robert Clark, Commissioning Programme Manager 

To:                  Parish and Town Councillors

Date:              13 June 2018

Subject:        Big Conversation

 Introduction

 

What is the Big Conversation? We want to find out if there is a better, more sustainable way of providing transport to rural communities not currently served by commercial operators. We want to explore this in conversation with a number of stakeholders.

We are working with transport and technology providers, District/Parish/Town Councils, stakeholder organisations and communities across Kent to identify potential ideas to develop new ways of delivering rural transport.

This is an exciting opportunity for all stakeholders to provide feedback on the ideas presented as we develop potential alternative delivery models for rural transport. It is important that we encourage participation within the county to understand the needs of our residents.

Once we have explored potential ideas with the market and completed engagement with residents, future delivery models will be further developed.

 

The Programme

As part of this programme we will be holding Public Meetings throughout the county to explain the potential ideas and encourage feedback from residents.

 

Consultation

 

The consultation was launched today and will be open for 8 weeks concluding on 8th August 2018. This is an opportunity for all residents and other stakeholders to have their say on the Big Conversation. We want to hear about:

 

  • the use of public transport and the journeys taken
  • the priorities for a sustainable rural transport service
  • the thoughts on the 3 initial ideas we have developed
  • any additional information that we need to consider when shaping the services for the future.

 

Full details of the consultation and how to complete the questionnaire (online or hard copy) can be found at www.kent.gov.uk/bigconversation.

 

 

Public Meetings

 

We will  be facilitating public meetings in each district (except for a joint meeting for Dartford and Gravesham) that will take place between 19:00 and 21:00. This is an opportunity for members, residents and other stakeholders to attend. The dates and venues are as follows:

 

  • Dover District – Tuesday 19th June

Dover Town Hall, The Maison Dieu, Biggin Street Dover CT16 1DL

  • Thanet District –Thursday 21st June

Margate Football Club, Hartsdown Road, Margate, CT9 5QZ

  • Gravesham/Dartford Borough’s – Tuesday 26th June

Elite Venue Centre – Dunkirk Close, Gravesend DA12 5ND

  • Sevenoaks District – Wednesday 4th July

Stag Theatre, London Rd, Sevenoaks TN13 1ZZ

  • Tonbridge and Malling Borough – Thursday 5th July

Borough Green Village Hall, Borough Green, TN15 8DG

  • Canterbury District – Tuesday 10th July

University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NZ

  • Tunbridge Wells Borough– Wednesday 11th July

The High Weald Academy, Cranbrook TN17 2PJ

  • Folkestone & Hythe District – Thursday 12th July

St Mary’s Bay Village Hall, Romney Marsh, TN29 OSW

  • Ashford Borough – Tuesday 17th July

Homewood School, Tenterden, TN30 6LT

  • Swale Borough – Wednesday 18th July

UK P Leisure, Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne ME10 4DE

  • Maidstone Borough – Thursday 19th July

Lecture Theatre, Sessions House, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ

 

Parish Seminar Meetings

 

We will be facilitating Parish Seminar meetings which will allow county members and parishes councilors in each district to attend specific sessions. This is an opportunity for the programme team to present further information which will encourage further discussions about these ideas. The date and venues are as follows:

 

  • Tuesday 3rd July 9:30 – 12:30

RAMADA HOTEL, Dover, CT16 3EL

  • Thursday 5th July 13:00 – 16:00

HADLOW MANOR, Tonbridge and Malling , TN11 0JH

  • Thursday 12th PM 14:00 – 17:00

ASHFORD INTERNATIONAL HOTEL Ashford, TN24 8UX

  • Wednesday 18th 9:30 – 12:30

MECURE HOTEL (GREAT DANES), Maidstone, ME17 1RE

 

Further details on the agenda and discussion points will be emailed in due course.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Team at bigconversation@kent.gov.uk.

Yours faithfully

Robert Clark

Commissioning Programme Manager

Pictured below is a Nu Venture bus from the company that serves Hollingbourne.

A Nu Venture bus of the type that comes to Hollingbourne.

*Response from KCC when it was pointed out that the local consultation at County Hall cannot be reached by public transport:

I am sorry that the choice of time and location for your most local event is not convenient to you.  As with all events such as this we organise across the County, times and dates have been selected based on a number of (sometimes quite limiting) factors namely; location, capacity, physical accessibility, location and availability. We always work as hard as possible to strike a balance and make them accessible for the majority of residents but unfortunately there is no solution that will suit everyone. 

The events are an opportunity for the Programme team to present the ideas that are detailed in the consultation information that can be found online at www.kent.gov.uk/bigconversation or via libraries in Kent. These meetings in isolation are not a formal way to take part in the consultation, as we require a questionnaire response from residents and other stakeholders for which I encourage you to complete. If you are unable attend, I can confirm that a copy of the presentation will be made available on the website next week.

I note that you mention about specific routes, however our consultation does not go into this detail. Our Big Conversation is an opportunity for you to have your say on how we could deliver transport in the future, where there is no commercial route available or your local bus does not deliver a suitable reliable service.  I encourage you to complete the questionnaire which is available online or via libraries in Kent www.kent.gov.uk/bigconversation.  Alternatively, if you require a hard copy of the consultation, please request one via email bigconversation@kent.gov.uk.

I hope that I have been able to clarify how you can participate in the Big Conversation if you were unable to make the event itself.  If can be of any further assistance please do contact me again.

Yours sincerely

Robert Clark MCIPS | Commissioning Programme Manager |