A HALF MILLION pound deal that will see a brand new bus service linking Kimberley with the tram stop at Phoenix Park is set to be signed next month.
A meeting last week with organisers Broxtowe MP Nick Palmer and Kimberly councillor Richard Robinson saw partners Veolia, Tesco and British Land agree the funding split that will see the service start from October 3 this year.
The T1 Phoenix Flagship Service will operate seven days per week, 364 days of the year and link residents in Nuthall, with the tram stop at Phoenix Park, the new Ikea Retail Park and the Tesco store at Ilkeston.
The half hourly service to and from Phoenix Park to Cossall will run between 6.25am and 8pm, with hourly services later in the evening.
Dr Palmer said: "I am delighted that all the hard work put in over the past eighteen months is now coming to fruition.
"It's very important that when we talk about protecting the environment we don't just bash drivers but give a positive environmental alternative so that drivers have a clean, comfortable public transport option to get into town."
Cllr Robinson said: "I cannot express enough my gratitude to all the partners who have worked tirelessly in this ground breaking project, and I for one cannot wait for the service to start!
"This service will provide the people of the area the public transport links they have said they wanted."
Chairman of Kimberley Town Council cllr Roy Plumb said: "I would like to thank Nick and Richard for their persistence in ensuring that this area of Broxtowe gets a huge boost that this new bus service will undoubtedly bring."
Kimberley resident Mary Trivett, of Knowe Lane, said: "This is brilliant news and I know from talking to many people that this service will be very well used."
Leader of Broxtowe Labour Group cllr Milan Radulovic said: "I'd like to take my hat off to Nick and Richard for pioneering this project and seeing it through to completion.
"I know during the past 18 months they've taken some stick, and have been subject to cheap jibes from the local Tories on the length of time it's taken to complete everything, but what people have to remember is that when you are dealing with the sums of money involved and different organisations - it can get very complex."
The service was set to start on August 1 but roadworks around the Ikea island pushed the start date back to October.
Cllr Robinson said: "The final contract to be signed next month will see a three-year deal with approaching 500,000 being invested by Veolia over this time.
"The funding from Tesco and British Land towards this amounts to around 90,000 which is in effect kick start costs to help the service get up and running for the first couple of years.
"Once the service is established the subsidies from Tesco and British Land will end - and it will end up as a permanent - running - commercial self-funded service."