SERIOUS concerns were raised by residents over plans to cut a "lifeline" bus service.

A public meeting was called at Mancot Village Hall after it emerged Arriva is to remove its number 12/13 Chester to Mold bus service at the end of April.

More than 100 residents attended the meeting, chaired by Mancot county councillor Bob Connah, which included a presentation from Flintshire Council officer Ruth Cartwright.

She said Flintshire Council acknowledged the importance of the service but emphasised the authority had no control over commercial decisions made by firms such as Arriva.

"There was no consultation with us," she said. "The first we knew about it was when we started receiving complaints from members and the public."

Ms Cartwright told the meeting that replacing such a service could cost the council about £250,000 - money which the authority does not have to spare.

What the council could provide, she explained, was a reduced but scheduled minibus service which can get people to town centres or "hubs" where they can continue their onward journey.

But residents had concerns that the arrangement could leave them struggling to make it to medical appointments and other essential outings.

Ms Cartwright said the council also offered a "dial-a-ride" arrangement which is a "chargeable but subsidised" service for those needing to travel to medical appointments.

Asked what her predictions were for the "worst case scenario" Ms Cartwright said the village could be without a bus for up to 10 weeks.

Cllr George Hardcastle, of Aston ward, said: "This service is a lifeline to all of these people and this has to be looked at.

"I think it is a disgrace they are looking to take it out."

One man said the community was being left "out on a limb" and that the impact could see people "lose their jobs".

Ms Cartwright and Cllr Carolyn Thomas, cabinet member for streetscene and countryside, invited suggestions to solve the problem.

One man asked why another existing Arriva service could not be adapted to include the route, with another resident suggesting the council inform local bus operators of the upcoming gap in the market in the hopes that one of them will step in.

Cllr Thomas told the meeting: "I am trying to make sure everyone has a service in the future - it might not be the same as you currently have and I am sorry about that, but we're doing our best."

She said after the meeting that the concerns would be taken seriously, adding: "It has been a great turnout and I understand the importance of this service.

"We are doing our best and the officers are working so hard. Everyone cares passionately about this."

Nobody from Arriva attended the meeting, but Cllr Connah told residents a representative had been invited.

Cllr David Wisinger, of Queensferry ward, said: "We're very concerned. Sandycroft, for example, has a high population of elderly people who will be affected in a big way.

"There's a lot of demand for this bus and if it is taken away it will cause a lot of hardship."

Residents shared their views with the Leader afterwards.

Bruce Lillie from Hawarden said: "I'm concerned for people living here - it is too far for them to walk to another route."

Jacqueline Marston, 79, from Mancot, said: "It seems to be cut and dried unfortunately - we might just have to put up with it.

"It is a terribly important service and it will cost a fortune to get taxis."

Margot Thomson-Moore, 79, from Mancot, said: "I think we do want the bus in Mancot and Sandycroft - it is a lifeline because a lot of us don't have any other transport.

"If they take it away we are going to be isolated."

Arriva has been approached by the Leader for a comment.