Green MEP in Bletchley bus call

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MILTON Keynes’ Green MEP Keith Taylor visited West Bletchley to support residents in their fight for a bus service to a new doctors surgery.

The Euro-MP also paid a visit to the town’s new medical centre. The new Whaddon Medical Centre on Tweed Drive replaced the practice’s old surgery on Whaddon Way, which was built in the 1960s and was too small for the needs of modern patients.

Senior partner, Dr Christine Bradley, showed Mr Taylor around the new surgery’s innovative carbon neutral design, which includes solar panels to provide heating, and ‘intelligent lighting’ which switches itself off when people leave a room.

He said: “I was really pleased to see such a green building, and I was impressed by the wide range of extra services that Whaddon House is now able to provide to its patients.”

But patients told him the surgery currently does not have a bus service.

And West Bletchley Councilor Liz Campbell, who accompanied Mr Taylor to the surgery, said she had been contacted by a significant number of residents, complaining they were now forced to pay for taxis to visit the surgery.

Cllr Campbell said: “Many of these residents are elderly or disabled, and are on low incomes. It is unfair that they should have to pay for a taxi just to visit their GP.”

The surgery has collected a 1,000 signature petition for a bus service.

Mr Taylor said: “I have written to cabinet member Councillor Vanessa McPake to ask her why she can’t use some of the existing planning gain money for Bletchley to subsidise a bus service to the new surgery. The council needs to take some action on this issue.”

A council spokesman said: “The new surgery location meets our current planning guidelines in terms of bus service provision - it is within 400m of bus stops at Emerson Valley Meeting Place, which currently have 3 buses per hour to both Bletchley town centre and Central Milton Keynes.

“We have investigated the possibility of providing a bus service to the relocated surgery, but it would have had to be subsidised by the council, and ultimately the taxpayer, as it is not a commercially viable route for Arriva.

“We understand that ideally people using the new surgery would like a bus that stops right at their door – but in the current financial climate, with the council facing very well publicised budget pressures from all angles, we could not justify offering a bespoke service to this location.”