A MIDDLEWICH councillor has hailed the work of Cheshire East’s deputy leader in restoring a vital bus service.

The 42 bus will resume its stops on Elm Road, King Street, and Centurion Way in the town, having ceased doing so last August.

Now, Labour’s Cllr Carol Bullman has praised independent deputy CEC leader Craig Browne.

The Middlewich representative told the Guardian: “I am delighted. We have been asking for this since last August when I had a call from a resident in her 80s who said the bus went straight past her.

“People were having real problems who walk with a stick, or who are not very good at walking, and they’re having to walk another two stops to get to leighton Hospital.

“The deputy leader was fantastic and TSS were very helpful. We are trying to get p[eople out of their cars and on to public transport.

“I thought it would be April [by the time this move was confirmed] but I am absolutely delighted with Cllr Browne. He just got it and understood not having that full route was cutting across other council policies.”

The bus will begin stopping at the Middlewich halts from Monday, October 19.

It runs between Crewe and Congleton via Leighton Hospital, Middlewich and Holmes Chapel. It operates nine services a day in each direction, Monday to Friday, and six on Saturdays.

In a statement, Cllr Browne said: “This is great news for Middlewich residents and especially those who might rely on this service to access health care, go shopping, or simply to get out and about for their general health and wellbeing.

“I would like to thank our transport team, Transport Service Solutions, for their work to find a solution at a time of significant workload due to Covid-19.

“With reduced levels of traffic across the borough we have been able to reinstate this Middlewich section of the route. However, we will need to monitor the passenger numbers and reliability of the service over the coming months to assess the viability of retaining these elements of the service if and when traffic levels increase.

“To secure a long-term solution, however, we also need the government to fulfil its promise to adequately fund local councils for the additional costs of the Covid pandemic.

“We have received repeated assurances from government that councils will be fully compensated for costs incurred in the fight against Covid-19 – but we are yet to see the promise meet the forecasts. This council faces a shortfall of around £26 million without additional government funding.

“Councils across the country are all facing the same significant challenges – Cheshire East is far from unique. We need the government to fully deliver on its promises.”