CHESHIRE’S rural communities are being warned by village leaders to use their services or face losing them.
Rural communities have seen their post offices, shops, and transport services disappear because they are underused, said village leaders at a Cheshire Community Action meeting.
As part of an on-going consultation, Cheshire County Council is seeking the views of communities to find out how easy it is to access these essential services.
With Cheshire Community Action (CCA), parish councils and through a questionnaire, it's hoping to shape an accessibility strategy which will be used by Cheshire West and Chester council.
John Hesselwood, chief executive officer of CCA, said people in rural communities have seen their services disappear.
He said: “Generally speaking the lack of use of these services was seen as the main reason for this.
“Depopulation was also a major contributing factor to this loss of service. This led to discussions on the wider issues of the provision of affordable housing to retain the population and therefore the services.”
The main outcome of the meeting was that villages need to raise awareness of what services they have, to get more people to use them and “that services need to meet the needs of users and not the wishes of the providers”.
Highways and Transportation executive member Eveleigh Moore-Dutton said: “It is important that the revised strategy reflects the experience of service users and Cheshire residents, and the priorities reflect those people most in need and those who have the most difficulty in accessing essential services.”
The questionnaire can be found on the county council’s website www.cheshire.gov.uk/accessibilityplanning.
Cllr Mike Jones, leader of the new Cheshire West and Chester authority said: “There is this sense that we must use them or face losing them. That is what happened with the A41 bus service from Chester to Malpas. No one was using the service so it was taken away.”