BOROUGH councillors will invite the managing director of Stagecoach South to come and talk at a public meeting about the company’s radical and controversial bus service changes.

Councillors voted in favour of inviting Andrew Dyer to come and talk to councillors on the planning and infrastructure committee.

The motion at full council called on the borough council to discuss how Stagecoach and Hampshire County Council can “improve the bus services by reversing the cuts for Basingstoke and Deane, reinstating evening and Sunday services and delivering improved routes that meet local community’s needs”.

It was proposed by South Ham Labour councillor Colin Regan after he claimed that Stagecoach “failed to take account of a recent residents’ petition of over 1,200 signatures” in relation to bus cuts that have affected the Berg Estate.

Cllr Regan told fellow councillors: “We were warned of them (the bus changes) just before Christmas and Stagecoach’s method of consultation was to put leaflets on the number four bus.

“We got a petition sent off a week before February 16 with 1,200 signatures on it.

“I sent it to Hampshire County Council and I have had acknowledgement from them, and I sent a copy to Andrew Dyer at Stagecoach and have had no acknowledgement.

“I would appeal for you to support this motion and put the public back into public transport.”

Councillor Cathy Osselton, cabinet member for partnerships, added: “Communication in this case has not been great. They (Stagecoach) have agreed with me that in the future, if they are going to change bus routes they will let officers here know and we will bring in the relevant ward councillors who will know the bus service well, and we will work with relevant agencies that need to be consulted.

“If the chairman of the P&I committee would like to invite Stagecoach to attend a meeting, I would support this approach.”