Backing for the X51 bus to once again stop in the villages to the west of the county town has come from Dorchester town councillors.

Campaigners are trying to persuade First to reinstate the stops in Martinstown and Winterbourne Steepleton after a gap of ten years.

Dorchester town councillors Molly Rennie and Susie Hosford said that care homes in the valley need a bus service to get their staff to and from work while visitors to the homes would also gain.

Cllr Hosford said it seemed “utter insanity” for the bus to travel the main road between Dorchester and Bridport without stopping while there were potential customers and visitors to the area who might like to use it – helping reduce the number of cars on the road.

Cllr Les Fry, at a meeting on Monday evening, said it would be a ‘win, win’ for valley businesses and residents as well as Dorchester and Bridport, if the route could be reinstated “It seems potty that the bus doesn’t travel through the valley,” he said.

Cllr Fiona Kent-Ledger said that others likely to gain from a reinstated X51 service were those needing to attend hospital or physio’ appointments at Dorset County Hospital or people wanting to shop, or work, in Dorchester or Bridport.

Cllr Richard Biggs said he had heard of people from the villages who had turned down jobs because there was no bus service, but warned that a reinstated service would need to be supported, possibly with a council subsidy.

Said Cllr Fiona Kent-Ledger: “People are being disadvantaged by not having a bus service. We should welcome this campaign and encourage people to write to First and request it to reconsider.”

Those campaigning for the reinstated service are due to meet with local First managers in the coming week to press their case.

West Dorset MP Chris Loder and the Dorchester Transport Action Group (DTAG) have joined in the campaign.

Organiser Les Scarth says that with the exception of a Dorset Community Transport minibus which provides a single run to and from Dorchester leaving at about 10am and returning at 1.15pm  Steepleton, North Rew, South Rew, Martinstown and Mallards Green have no public transport.

“If First Bus agrees to run the X51 back through the valley I am confident that it will find the service receives good usage for shopping, socializing and attending medical appointments,” he said.

Mr Scarth is asking people to contact Peter McNaughton at First Wessex, Bus Depot, Edward Street, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7DP to express support for re-routing the X51 through the valley.