A COUNCILLOR hoping to save a 'vital' bus service says he is 'hopeful' of progress as various civic bosses continue to meet in the quest for funding.

As previously reported, the Stagecoach service number 46 bus, that runs between North Baddesley and Winchester, is currently under threat as a result of proposed cuts by Hampshire County Council.

Despite the looming closure, Baddesley councillor Alan Dowden has embarked on a mission to save the service by getting various parish councils to set aside extra funding to save the service.

So far, North Baddesley and Valley Park Parish councils have each agreed to help fund the service by increasing their council tax precepts by £3,000.

Now, cllr Dowden has said that he is 'hopeful' of progress, and that he is in conversation with the county council.

Cllr Dowden said: "At the moment I want to speak to the county council and see what can be done if anything.

"We are still in conversation with a range of parish councils about trying to raise the figure.

"Even if it becomes a shorter route, it still keeps the service alive and serves the community it needs to."

Stagecoach would need £40,000 to save the route, and cllr Dowden is still waiting to hear from Chandler's Ford Parish Council and Ampfield Parish Council.

Cllr Dowden added: "I am waiting to hear from Chandler's Ford, and I believe Ampfield will be discussing it at the next meeting on January 15.

"Hopefully for the people that rely on this route, there will be some more good news."

The cuts come as Hampshire County Council attempts to save £140 million from its budget by April 2019.

Bosses at the council had been urged to reconsider the plans by Stagecoach last year when it announced the plan.

In a letter from Stagecoach, who operate on behalf of the council, managing director Edward Hodgson said last November: "We very much understand the pressure the council is under and recognise that some difficult decisions need to be made.

"Like the council, bus operators also have limited resources.

"The proposed cuts for 2019 would unfortunately mean complete withdrawal of virtually all of the affected services.

"We urge you to think again."