PLANS have been confirmed to re-route the 192 Stourport to Kidderminster and Halesowen bus to cover part of the 197 route that is being axed in September.

The 197 is used by elderly residents in the villages of Hagley, Clent and Blakedown but Whittle Coach & Bus Ltd has now announced its plans after attempts were made to save the 197 by Churchill and Blakedown Parish Council.

Jim Long, parish councillor, said the parish council was delighted at the co-operation from the bus company.

“This is a good outcome to what has been a difficult issue,” he said.

“A lot of elderly residents use the 197 and they would have found it very difficult to get around without any service at all.

“We’re absolutely delighted and would like to thank Whittles for engaging with the parish council to solve the problem.”

David Shipp, general manager of Whittle Coach & Bus Ltd, said: “We have offered to do this in the interest of members of the community.

“However, if usage in Blakedown and Churchill is not reasonable this change is likely to have a negative impact on the service so would urge the public to make use of this service.”

Worcestershire county councillors voted at a cabinet meeting this month to scrap the 197, following a review of subsidised bus routes, in a bid to save £3 million.

A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council said the majority of timetables for saved routes, including the re-routed 192 bus, would be finalised around next Monday.

Conservative county councillor John Smith, cabinet member with responsibility for highways, said: "The 197 is being withdrawn and partly replaced by the 192 and Whittles have agreed, due in part to the interest that has been shown by both the Blakedown and Churchill communities, to divert one journey per day to serve Blakedown and Churchill.

“With this in mind, the Lickhill Road and Windermere Road route in Stourport has been pulled.

“However, the 192 on all other journeys will continue to provide a regular service to Lickhill and Windermere.

“Passengers looking to use local community transport will need to pre-book and a fare will be applicable.”

Mr Long said Churchill and Blakedown Parish Council deplored the emphasis the county council was putting on community transport.

“The county council are depriving rural communities of their transport,” he explained.

“Community transport is unfair, as they do not accept free bus passes There’s a slight reduction in the price but it’s not enough. These cuts are thoughtless.