VILLAGERS in an isolated hamlet west of Andover say their axed bus services must be reinstated as residents have been struggling to cope through the winter weather.

Palestine resident Jean Prosser says some of the money being used to fund a new bus station in Andover would be better spend preserving rural services, which have been cut from seven a day to none through her village.

She said: “Residents now have a lengthy walk in all weathers along busy, unlit roads.

“It would be an extra five minutes and minimal fuel per journey added to the timetable to swing around Palestine a few times a day.

“I have contacted Hampshire County Council (HCC) previously and it has been made very clear to me they are not concerned in the slightest with the plight of rural communities without buses.

“I also highlighted the problem to the headteacher at John Hanson School, outlining the dangers to his pupils who now have to cross the busy, dangerous B3084 at the railway bridge to catch the local bus to school.

“HCC think they have rectified the problem, but this is far from true. The walk to catch the bus is an accident waiting to happen.

“We need positive action right now by Hampshire County Council.”

Elderly people in particular are struggling to cope she said. Regular bus user Sharon Robotti said: “I’m very asthmatic and used that service – now I have to walk up that incline I have to stop three or four times and catching my breath.”

See more in this week's paper.