A PETITION has been started protesting recent changes in Stagecoach bus routes.

David Cole, of the High Street Committee, said he has been inundated with complaints from Wombwell traders and his own customers at Cole Bros Café, arguing Wombwell has been 'cut off' from surrounding areas.

Buses no longer stop at Illsley Road, Morrison Road, Bly Road and Upperwood in Darfield since the changes were implemented on July 20.

Residents in Hemingfield and Houghton have also complained of cuts in services to Wombwell while routes to Barnsley and Rotherham have been improved.

Stagecoach heralded the changes as the biggest in the Dearne Valley for 20 years, arguing they had come following a period of consultation and were designed to increase the use of public transport, improve services and make them better value for money.

But David said: "We've had at least ten of our members come to us saying customers have told them they're being expected to carry their shopping down to Station Road to get a bus back to Darfield.

"People have been telling us they now have to get a bus from Darfield to Stairfoot and then another one to Wombwell, which they're not going to do, because it's easier just to go on to Barnsley. We're not happy about it - it's driving people away from Wombwell."

Staff at Potters said many of their Darfield customers had complained about how difficult it now was for them to get there and Ali Rasool, of ZA Akram, said the pharmacy has had to deliver prescriptions to people in Darfield this week who can no longer travel to Wombwell.

David, who lives in Bolton, added councillors in Wath had successfully campaigned to resinstate a bus service lost through Stagecoach's changes and the same could be done in Wombwell.

"If Wath councillors can turn it round, so can ours, so we need their support. Together we can get something done about this."

Cllr Dick Wraith and Cllr Brian Key have contacted Rupert Cox of Stagecoach already, in order to discuss the matter.

"People are saying they can't get to the doctors from Darfield and shopkeepers are saying some of their customers aren't coming anymore," said Cllr Wraith. "This is a big thing."