A BUS route that was set to be axed from a Southampton community has been saved after an outcry from residents.

First Group announced yesterday that plans to re-route the number three bus – which runs between Lords Hill and Sholing – away from Ocean Village would no longer be coming into force on September 2.

The route is the only service that operates in the area.

The previous proposals would have seen the bus use Central Bridge instead of Canute Road.

The bus provider cited the “punctuality” of its services as the main reason for its original decision, as driving through Ocean Village causes a “significant amount of delays” because of traffic.

Regarding the change of heart, a spokesperson said: “Our plan was to re-route number three away from Ocean Village due to the significant amount of delays caused in this area driven by traffic congestion.

"Punctuality of buses is highly important for everyone using the bus.

“But, following feedback from customers and stakeholders, we have decided (subject to approval from Traffic Commissioner) to maintain the current routing of service three. We will continue to serve Ocean Village.”

However, it did confirm the X4 and X5 routes – which operate between Southampton, Fareham and Portsmouth – would be going next month, running through nearby Terminus Terrace instead.

Bargate ward councillor Sarah Bogle – whom scores of residents voiced their concern to – previously called the re-routing proposals “short-sighted”.

She said: “People power has clearly had a big impact here.

“The number three is the bus that is heavily used by residents to go to the city centre. It is a very important service.

“The previously proposed diversion would have been very inconvenient to many local people, especially to those resident who have problems with mobility.

“I’m really pleased we were able to win this battle – for now.” Transport boss Councillor Jacqui Rayment added:

“I am delighted that First have taken this decision to keep the route of the number three bus.

“If we want more people to use buses then we have to make sure they run where people want to use them.”

Cllr Rayment added: “I think that any loss of a bus service to a community is a bad thing, but this change of heart by First means at least the residents of Ocean Village still have access to a bus service, even if it’s not as wide-ranging as we want it to be.”