£4m boost for transport in Rutland

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TRANSPORT in Rutland will get a £4m boost with new bus routes and a transport hub.

Rutland County Council discovered yesterday that its bid for Government cash for its Transport4Rutland had been successful.

The money will be used to create a sustainable transport interchange at Oakham railway station. This will include cycle hire, bus stops and possibly a new car park.

Bus routes will be introduced to link Rutland Water with Oakham and Uppingham. There will also be an employment shuttle bus.

Council leader Roger Begy (Con) said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for Rutland and I’d like to congratulate everybody involved in putting this bid together. Public transport is always a challenge in rural areas such as Rutland, but this funding will enable us to do lots of things that will make a real difference to the day-to-day lives of local people”.

The funding bid was lodged last year and initially turned down but it was announced as one of 27 successful schemes in a second round of funding yesterday.

Coun Begy said: “We have secured the majority of the funding applied for but must now carry out detailed work, including further discussion with the Department for Transport, to find out how the money can be used.”

The employment shuttle bus will connect Melton, Oakham, Stamford, Uppingham and Corby to the major employment areas of Rutland. The bus routes will include stops in villages that straddle the direct route. The aim is to allow people to work shifts in areas currently lacking in transport links.

A new seven-day hourly tourism bus will operate on a circular route linking Oakham, Uppingham and Rutland Water, allowing easier access for tourists and residents.

Deputy leader Terry King (Con) said: “The impact of this project on the town centres should not be underestimated. Rutland Water is one of the major tourist attractions in the East Midlands and we’re keen to promote both Oakham and Uppingham to visitors. In addition, the employment bus included in the bid will make it easier for workers to get to major employers in the local area”.

Rutland MP Alan Duncan said: “This is more great news for Rutland. I have been lobbying the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, on the merits of the bid and I am delighted the council has managed to secure such a large sum. It is a testament to the quality of their proposals and I know the funding will provide valuable additions to transport in the county.”