A CHRISTCHURCH councillor is celebrating after a campaign to keep an “important” bus service was successful.

Dorset County and Christchurch borough councillor, Margaret Phipps, who represents residents of St Catherine’s said she is “absolutely delighted” the county council will continue to sponsor the route.

It currently runs from Burton to Royal Bournemouth Hospital via Christchurch, and is due to be rebranded from the number 21 to number 24 from April 6.

Cllr Phipps said: “This is a great example of residents and councillors working together to achieve a really good outcome for the community.

“I spoke on behalf of residents at two cabinet meetings in Dorchester, emphasising how important this bus is to residents of St Catherine’s and River Way, and I want to thank the cabinet for paying attention to what I said.

“Local councillor Sue Spittle and residents did a great deal of work collecting signatures for two petitions which were also sent. “The result was county’s recognition that people needed this valuable bus to be able to get to work, the hospital, the shops, and out and about.

“The original suggestion was to withdraw sponsorship of the number 21 from Burton to Bournemouth Hospital, return, but after listening to local councillors and residents, the county council realised its importance and has decided to continue to sponsor this route Monday to Saturday inclusive.”

Mark Ambler, Yellow Buses’ head of network development, said previously: “We must stress that these new arrangements are on a trial basis due to the substantial amount of funding which has been cut.

“It is absolutely essential that residents of Burton and River Way in Christchurch make full use of the service. We have worked really hard to try and save this route, at least in the short-term, but are now looking to the local community to support the service.”