A petition has been launched to save Withernsea’s bus depot from closure amid uncertainty surrounding its future.
Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart and South East Holderness ward councillors Claire Holmes, Sean McMaster and Lyn Healing are working together to save the East Yorkshire garage in Bannister Street following a fire in the building next door two months ago.
Ben Gilligan, managing director of East Yorkshire Buses, met Mr Stuart and the councillors and said a decision had not yet been made, but that he was mindful of the impact a prospective closure would have on the town.
Withernsea is an important part of East Yorkshire’s operations, with the X7 and the 75 two of the most used routes on the network.
Mr Gilligan said he was eager to stress that East Yorkshire’s preferred option was to keep the depot open, either as a depot or a bus park, neither of which would see services or jobs affected.
However, Mr Stuart said he felt it was important that residents keep up the pressure, so he has set up a petition to allow them to show that they want to keep Withernsea at the heart of East Yorkshire’s operations.
The future of the bus depot, which employs 30 people, has been subject to rumours since a fatal fire occurred at the property next to East Yorkshire’s travel office.
Mr Gilligan has also worked with Withernsea Town Council on the issue.
Mr Stuart said: “Withernsea would really feel the loss of an employer like East Yorkshire Buses – and I want to make sure that residents have a way to make their views known.
“That’s why I’ve set up a petition and I’m grateful to Cllr Lyn Healing for the work she’s done to bring this to my attention, and to put the views of the people of Withernsea to the fore, as she always does.
“I’m grateful to Ben Gilligan for reiterating East Yorkshire Buses’ long-standing commitment to Withernsea, and I will keep the bus company’s feet to the fire about the importance of this employer to the town.”
Cllr Healing said: “It wouldn’t be fair for East Yorkshire Buses to move their depot to Hull.
“Not only would it put jobs at risk and destroy work/life balance for any drivers who did join a move to Hull, it would be a loss for Withernsea.
“I’m pleased that Graham was so quick to jump on this and put this petition out. Please sign and help us make the argument to the bus company.”
Cllr Holmes said: “Moving the Withernsea depot to Hull would send a very poor message that East Yorkshire Buses are not willing to invest in our residents who depend on East Yorkshire buses for transport, and it is poor treatment of their staff who depend on them for their livelihoods and give so much.”
Cllr McMaster said: “Our local transport links are vital. Without them, communities like Withernsea are at serious risk of becoming cut off. Our local transport networks need to remain operational in order for residents to access work, medical appointments and leisure activities.”
To sign the petition visit grahamstuart.com/SaveWithernseaBusDepot.