RESIDENTS have been celebrating as the bus stop close to their homes has been reinstalled, months after it was removed.

The stop was located on Sarum Road, at the corner of Romsey Road, but it was removed without warning in August, and relocated to the West Downs Centre at Winchester University. The bus stop was put in as a planning condition when the West Downs Centre was being constructed.

Now residents are rejoicing as Hampshire County Council has made the decision to temporarily reinstall the stop. It will monitor usage at both the Sarum Road stop and the one at the university.

In an email seen by the Chronicle, the council said: “Provided it does not become an operational issue, we will look to re-site the stop on a permanent basis to this location.”

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Once the stop is monitored it is proposed to be reinstated permanently, provided the council takes legal ownership of the land it is on.

Anne Odling, who started the campaign for the bus stop to be reinstated, alongside Maureen Eyers, said: “I think we have got it back for good, I am grateful to Hampshire County Council’s Passenger Transport and to Stagecoach.”

Mrs Eyers said: “It was so frustrating [when the bus stop was removed], I walk into town and I also catch the bus when I feel like it - I was so shocked when the stop was gone.”

Gilbert French, 82, of Greenhill Road, said: “The university bus stop is 180 yards further and then you find them (bus stops) too close, you’ve got the university, the hospital and then Arbour Court. I find this one much more convenient.”

Penny Ward, who also uses the bus stop regularly, said: “Before Covid I used the bus probably several times a week. The stop being reinstated makes life so much simpler.”

Now the stop has been reinstated residents in the area have greater access to regular buses to take them into the city.

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Previously, Mrs Odling said when the bus stop was removed it was the longest stretch in the city without a stop. It left many having to either walk down to the university or up to Sleeper’s Hill.

MP Steve Brine said: “I am delighted that common sense has prevailed, and my constituents will now be able to access convenient local bus services. The reinstatement of the temporary bus stop at the junction of Sarum and Romsey Road is vital for those who rely on public transport, and I will continue to press Stagecoach and Hampshire County Council to make this a permanent solution.”

Hampshire County Council’s executive member for highways operations, Cllr Russell Oppenheimer, said: “We have listened to feedback from bus passengers and have placed a temporary stop on Sarum Road. This will enable us to monitor passenger usage pending a future decision on whether to make this a permanent arrangement.

“Any decision to permanently relocate the bus stop will be dependent on confirmation that it does not cause any ongoing operational issues for bus operators and whether the county council is able to take legal ownership of the land where the stop would be sited.”

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Kimberley Barber