Councillors 'deserve explanation' after Sammy Transport closure

City councillors questioned the collapse of the transport charity after the closure left 'a big hole'.

Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 1:22 pm

Attending the meeting of the community affairs committee yesterday (September 3) councillors discussed the next steps after Sammy Community Transport announced it would be closing down last month.

The charity, which served the community for 47 years, offered affordable accessible transport for disabled, vulnerable and elderly people across Arun and Chichester.

Councillor Clare Apel (Lib Dem) said: "I think it is going to be a real hole in the service. Is there any chance we can do a recce and find out what other agencies are doing this?"

Speaking at the time, a spokesman for the charity attributed the closure to a number of factors.

He said that while the charity was originally run by volunteers, a steady decline in numbers had led to staff being employed to take on administration roles and paid drivers being used for minibus trips. As a result, trips had not made any profit and at times had to be subsidised by the charity.

An increase in legislation of the sector has also made it far more expensive to run the vehicles, the spokesman said, while financial support from the local authority has declined.

Councillor Pete Budge (Con) said: "It is important we find out what happened because a lot of public money went in. I think we do deserve some explanation as to why or how. They were very important in the area. They have definitely left a big hole in the community. We deserve an explanation where our money has gone."

"If they have gone bankrupt, surely it should be in the public realm."

Councillor Peter Evans (Con) said: "It may be that they got too big. If we can talk to Sammy and find out what went wrong, maybe it's something salvageable."