I have today (March 25) written to Damian Hinds MP about having a rail-link bus between Bordon and Liphook. Here is what I said:

Dear Damian,

A rail-link bus ran between Bordon and Liphook in a circular route from Bordon to Whitehill, down to the A3, turning off at Griggs Green to Liphook Station and then back to Bordon via Passfield and Lindford.

A passenger could purchase a train ticket on the bus, with ‘Bordon’ being treated as a train station for this purpose. The bus was timed to meet the north trains to Guildford and London Waterloo, as well as the south trains to Petersfield and Portsmouth.

In 2009, South West Trains axed the rail-link bus completely, as it was not a mandatory part of their franchise agreement with the Department of Transport and they claimed it made a loss.

In 2017, the franchise agreement came up for renewal, with South West Trains (Stagecoach) defending as incumbents against a new bid from First Group and MTR. The latter won and took over the running of the network as South Western Railway.

I have never received a satisfactory answer as to why a rail-link bus between Bordon and Liphook was not put back into the franchise agreement at this time, as a mandatory requirement.

Surely it would have been the ideal opportunity to pass this cost to the winning bid and I very much doubt either party would have pulled out over one bus!

As you know, the expectation of increased subsidies from Hampshire County Council looks extremely unlikely, given their own financial situation.

There has never been adequate mitigation put in place. Meanwhile the population of Whitehill & Bordon continues to increase.

So far, of the 2,400 homes that have been given outline planning permission on MOD Land, only about 500 have been completed and more than 600 additional homes are currently proposed by the East Hampshire District Council draft Local Plan.

I understand the South Western Railway franchise has been extended and is expected to run until May 2025.

The reason for me writing to you now is that this is just over a year away and suggest that as our MP you could now make written representations to the Department for Transport to include such a rail-link bus in the next franchise agreement.

This is an excellent opportunity to link Whitehill & Bordon to the railway network in a way that means that local councils (ratepayers) are not required to foot the bill and footfall to Liphook Train station increases. I am happy to meet with you to discuss further (eg in one of my local councillor roles).

Andy Tree

Party Leader, Whitehill & Bordon Community Party