THE "lifeline" 147 bus service, which connects Romsley to the rest of the world, has been given a stay of execution.

First Worcestershire Buses planned to axe the service, which runs from Halesowen to Worcestershire, on April 10.

A 1000 name petition and a concerted campaign from Romsley Council has forced Worcestershire County Council to provide funding for the service for the next six months.

However, Romsley Parish Council is warning villagers to use the service over the next six months or face losing it.

Councillor Richard Arrowsmith, parish council chairman, said: "Our bus service remains threatened and it is vital that we all use the bus as much as possible to demonstrate its importance to our community.

"The parish council will continue to represent residents of Romsley and will work constructively with the county council and its officials as well as representatives of the Bus company to find a sustainable and long term solution that protects our vital bus service."

In a strongly worded letter to Councillor John Smith, Worcestershire Country Council's cabinet member for highways, Cllr Arrowsmith explained the importance of the 147 service.

He said: "There is much more to these services than simple economics, many residents in Romsley are completely reliant on the bus service to gain access to work, education, family, shops and medical services as well as connecting to wider transport infrastructure.

"Our Parish is situated at over 900 feet, the winter weather is often difficult and the nearest commercial centre is well over three miles away in Halesowen.

"I have undertaken this journey many times by foot and as a healthy forty one year old it takes me more than an hour to walk up a very steep hill and it is simply not viable for many of our community’s disadvantaged, young or elderly people to undertake this walk because there is no bus, they cannot drive and they simply can’t afford taxis."

After considering the problem of Romsley's residents being cut off Cllr Smith announced he had found a short term solution.

He said: "We have identified one-off funding to keep the service running for six months in order to fully evaluate the situation and to assess requirements and future usage.

"During this period the council will talk to other partners and consider all possible options for future provision."

"We are disappointed that First Group Buses have taken this decision.

He added: "However we are now looking at what solutions can be found, and in the meantime we will ensure that rural passengers have access to some public transport.

"We have to stress however, that the county council cannot take responsibility for these bus services on a permanent basis and alternative options must be found."