Villagers in North Yorkshire vow to continue campaign over bus services in rural areas

Residents of North Yorkshire villages which have seen public transport cut to a single daily service have vowed to continue their long-running campaign to get a local authority to assess residents' transport needs.

Residents of villages such as Helperby have had their bus services cut to a single daily service

Villagers in Brafferton, Helperby, Myton, Tholthorpe, Flawith and Aldwark, near Boroughbridge, are calling on North Yorkshire County Council to consider public transport solutions that don't involve external funding after learning the Department for Transport had rejected both the authority's bids.

The rejected bids had aimed to resolve some of the health transport issues in the Richmondshire and Hambleton areas, and to establish several community hub-led demand responsive transport schemes.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The government announcement comes ahead of the authority's Rural Commission publishing its findings, which are expected to include recommendations to improve transport provision in rural areas.

The decision comes a year after the council's transport boss Councillor Don Mackenzie said the county faced particular challenges around public transport because of its sparse population and deeply rural nature.

A spokeswoman for the council's transport department said the Department for Transport had received 56 expressions of interest for funding from 44 local authorities.

She said: "We are all very disappointed with this outcome as the parishes of Brafferton, Helperby, Tholthorpe and Myton on Swale were identified as suitable for inclusion in our proposals."

The council said it aimed to assist parish councils in identifying the travel needs of their communities.

However, campaigners said it was surprising that North Yorkshire was unsuccessful with both its bids, given its size and rurality, particularly as most of the largest English rural counties had been taken forward by the government.

While the Department for Transport did not provide feedback on why North Yorkshire's bids were rejected, campaigners say the criteria for selection suggest the bids failed to provide justifications based on travel needs assessments, something the villagers have repeatedly urged the council to do.

A campaign spokesman said: "There is now a concern that the rejection of the funding bids by the Department for Transport will be used by the council to deny any further action on the travel needs of the six communities."