Council’s U-turn on transport charges

EASTWOOD councillors have expressed their delight at hearing the news that Nottinghamshire County Council has done a U-turn on its decision to increase community transport costs.

People were left seething earlier this year after the council increased transport charges for pensioners’ lunch clubs by 400 per cent – from £1 to £5.

But after pressure from councillors and people who run the clubs, this week cabinet members did a U-turn and brought the charges down to £2.

Eastwood councillor Keith Longdon paid a visit to Kevin Rostance, the council’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, to see what could be done.

He said: “We are very pleased. They listened and very thankfully they listened to reason.

“They have realised the hardship it would cause by putting the cost up to £5. We’re over the moon.

“This service of giving people a lunch once a week is not just the fact that they get a reduced cost lunch, it gets people out their homes and allows them to socialise with others.”

People who run the county-wide lunch clubs also met with Cllr Rostance.

Josie Forrest who runs the Eastwood club at the Colin Dyson Centre in Edward Road was one of them.

She said: “It’s fantastic news. I’m absolutely delighted.

“These transport schemes are instrumental to these little set ups continuing.

“It’s an overall increase but everything goes up year-on-year. £1 to £5 was just a huge jump.”

The council increased the charges to £5 in April, but decided to review the decision in May after the meetings with councillors and luncheon club representatives.

And news came in this week that following that review, they had decided to lower the cost back down.

Cllr Stuart Wallace the deputy cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “Having listened to the concerns of service users and providers, we decided it would be fairer to establish a £2 transport charge.

“Appreciating that older people’s budgets are being particularly stretched at the moment and knowing how highly many of them value going to their luncheon clubs, we can see the effect of this price reduction will go a long way.”