CAMPAIGNERS have reacted with fury after losing their battle to maintain services through Hockley.

Bus company Arriva has announced its proposed cuts for the No7 and No8 buses have been agreed and will be going ahead from February 9.

It means just two buses an hour will run between Rochford and Southend – one No7 via Ashingdon and one No8 via Hawkwell.

Brian Guyett, chairman of Hockley Residents’ Association, who fought the changes, said in a letter to Arriva: “For the vast majority of Hockley and Hawkwell, there will be only one service an hour. Your comments are simply ‘spin’ and the reality is something like 20,000 people will have minimal access to Southend Hospital.

“Arriva has ignored suggestions put forward by residents to find a compromise and this gives the impression the whole consultation exercise has been a window dressing whitewash.”

More than 100 residents packed into a meeting with Arriva to express their concerns earlier this month.

Malcolm Spalding, commercial manager for Arriva, said the company recognised there had been tensions between ensuring the commercial viability of services and meeting the aspirations of residents.

Mr Spalding said: “While the principle of an hourly service on both the No7 and No8 routes between Rayleigh, Hockley and Southend remains, we will be providing some additional journeys in both the morning and evening peak periods and in the period immediately after 9am on weekdays.

“We will, of course, monitor the services closely when it changes and if customers experience any difficulties with the operation of the service I would encourage them to contact our customer services team.”