VILLAGERS in East Dorset are celebrating a bus company's decision to re-route the controversial Wimborne Flyer.

Furious pensioners from Merley claimed they had been left high and dry when Wilts & Dorset announced it was cutting its service through the village in June as part of a major shake up.

Hundreds of villagers signed a petition calling for the bus company to scrap the changes and revert back to its old route through Merley Gardens and Sopwith Crescent.

Now Wilts & Dorset has announced that from October 29 its buses will run through Merley Gardens again, although it has no plans to re-route the buses through Sopwith Crescent.

The bus company insisted that its decision to implement the new changes had nothing to do with any petitions, but came about after listening to customers and trying to give them what they wanted.

A spokesman for Wilts & Dorset said. "It's a practical compromise. We didn't want to inconvenience our passengers travelling to Wimborne, but now we are more available to more residents in Merley."

The Rev Andy Rimmer, from the Lantern Church, in Merley, who helped gather signatures for one petition, said he thought the news was a "step in the right direction", but added that the changes had left many elderly residents in Sopwith Crescent feeling isolated.

"It is a positive step," he said. "It will include a number of people who genuinely need access to public transport, particularly in that area of Merley where there are a lot of elderly people.

"It is encouraging, but there are still many people who rely on the buses and have struggled since the changes."

Wilts & Dorset came under fire from angry residents living in Merley Lane last week when one of its buses smashed into a garden wall as it attempted to pass another bus in the narrow road.