Rutland’s economy is to get a boost thanks to two new bus routes which form part of a £4m transport improvement plan.
On Monday, Rutland County Council voted to accept the conditions of a Department for Transport grant which will pave the way for a scheme that it hopes will boost the county’s economy.
The decision means new bus routes for tourists and workers will be introduced in the county in April next year.
Councillors also approved the use of a compulsory purchase order which will allow negotiations to buy land for a transport interchange near Oakham railway station to move forward.
Council leader Roger Begy (Con) said the new bus routes would bring business into the county.
He added: “The employee shuttle bus has been developed in partnership with major employers who have offered extremely helpful advice on things like routes and shift patterns.
“Local businesses will now have access to a much bigger potential workforce than might have been available before this shuttle bus service was introduced.”
“Rutland Water welcomes thousands of visitors each year and the new tourism bus will enable them to move from one part of the reservoir to another, and also to visit our town centres.
“Equally, those visiting Oakham and Uppingham will now be able to spend a part of their day relaxing at Rutland Water without having to move their car.”
Mark Harris is customer services director at Land’s End in Oakham, one of the biggest employers in Rutland.
He said: “I do support this initiative and its great the council has managed to secure the funding.
“From a sustainability point of view this will help us offer an alternative to single occupancy cars and from an employment point of view this bus will provide a service that more closely matches our shift times.
“It will also provide those families that share a car greater ability to seek work.”
Buses for workers will make three return journeys on four different routes at times to match shift patterns. They will run through Rutland and out of the county to Stamford, Corby and Melton Mowbray.
The tourism bus will operate seven days a week on an hourly basis, linking sites around Rutland Water with both Oakham and Uppingham.
The compulsory purchase order gives the council the power to obtain land without the consent of the owner, subject to compensation.
Councillors were keen to stress this was a last resort and was not being considered as a first option.