WINCHESTER city councillors have agreed to subside late-night buses for another year.

Councillors on the Town Forum unanimously backed the fresh subsidy last Wednesday.

The money supports late evening services on Thursdays through to Saturday and has been operating since 2012. The subsidy will operate until September 2019.

But the forum heard concerns about how the money is being spent.

Cllr Fiona Mather, Conservative, said one of the services went up Romsey Road at the same time as a service to Romsey subsidised by the developer of the Abbotswood scheme.

She said: “It is not a good use of public money to double up the subsidies, amounting to squandering it.”

The forum heard that use of the services are taking off. The average number of passengers from 2012-16 was 5,861 but last year it was 6,646, a 13 per cent increase.

Cllr Kelsie Learney, Liberal Democrat, who herself uses the buses, said the spin-off of the late night services was that other evening services were running, which were not subsidised. The 10.10pm bus did not run until the Town Forum subsidised services and demonstrated the extra demand for them, said Cllr Learney.

The forum said backing other routes would be looked at including the Highcliffe estate.