Council proposals to cut bus services have provoked a strong response from commuters around Melksham, amid fears rural passengers will be left stranded.

Wiltshire Council is six weeks into an eight-week consultation on the future of the Zig Zag bus service that links the villages of Atworth, Shaw and Broughton Gifford to Melksham, Corsham and Bradford on Avon.

In a letter to the authority, Melksham Without Parish Council strongly objects to the plans.

It says: “The service was designed to help people living in rural areas to access work, education and shopping. However, the changes mean that the villages of Gastard, Atworth and Whitley get a poor deal, especially as regards afternoon services into Melksham.”

The letter also suggests putting on a smaller, minibus-type vehicle to save costs, rather than reducing existing services.

Terry Chivers, the Wiltshire Council member for Melksham Without North, said: “I’ve heard that the consultation is getting quite a few responses from the public, so there is an awful lot of public feeling about this.

“A lot of elderly people use it and not only does it serve the people I represent, but I know a lot of people in Bradford on Avon use it to get to Melksham to do their weekly shop. I think you have got to look at better ways of providing these services.”

The consultation ends on August 2. Views can be sent to: Ian White, Passenger Transport Unit, Wiltshire Council, County Hall, Trowbridge BA14 8JN or buses@ wiltshire