Rejected plans to spend £1.7 million on halting planned bus cuts in Cambridgeshire have raised fears over whether it is now too late to help those most in need.

Councillor Steve Count, leader of the Conservative group on Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC), believes there is no ‘plan B’ on saving most bus services due to be axed by Stagecoach this month.

“I am extremely disappointed that the joint administration rejected our solution to halt the bus service cuts,” said Cllr Count.

“We had a solution; we chose non-political wording but to no avail.”

Seven councillors voted for the amendment, while eight voted against at the county council’s strategy and resources committee on September 30.

The plans would see £1.7m from the council’s general reserves, matching the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s (CAPCA) offer to save the threatened services.

CAPCA’s tender results will be discussed on October 19, a day before councillors will meet to decide what happens next.

Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, leader of CCC, was cautious and said that “we don’t yet know the cost of preserving the bus services, or what other sources of funding might be available.”

But Cllr Count disagreed.

“They cannot decide on the 20th to give the mayor money on the 19th; we needed a pot of money sufficient for him to make meaningful decisions,” he said.

“We are trying to get this back on the agenda on October 20, but for many people this will now be too late.

“Their confidence a solution can be found will have been undermined and they would have sought alternative personal solutions.”

Cllr Nethsingha has been quick to praise the actions of Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, who has pledged an additional £1.7 million to secure threatened routes.

The county council’s Liberal Democrat group leader has said she would not rule out any future council funding to rescue Stagecoach services due to be axed.

Residents have told CAPCA that bus routes and their frequency were of “highest priority in the region” during a public consultation.

The feedback was in response to CAPCA’s local transport and connectivity plan due to be published this autumn.