THE Minehead to Porlock Bus and Minehead Town bus services will stop running in February unless a new provider can be found.

The two services were under threat in October 2016 but were handed a lifeline with a partnership between Minehead Town Council, Porlock, Selworthy without and Luccombe Parish Councils, Somerset County Councils and First Bus and have been running for a year.

However this week First Bus handed in notice that it would no longer run the service from February onwards, leaving Somerset County Council just over a month to find a new provider.

Despite the short timeframe, Somerset County Council say they are confident an alternative operator can be found in time.

"We are aware of the First Bus decision and have been in contact with the parishes involved in funding the service and working with them to actively seek a new operator to run the service," a Somerset County Council spokesman said.

“The First services will be running until February and we are confident that we will be able to find an alternative operator before then to allow the the service to continue after that date.”

The mayor of Minehead Cllr Jean Parbrook said that the service, which was saved after a campaign by residents following large protests in Wellington Square and in Porlock, was doing well.

"The town service or number 11 service is doing well and at Monday night's finance meeting, the committee agreed to ring-fence £6,000 as its contribution to public transport in Minehead," Cllr Parbrook said.

"The recommendation will be put to full council in January, and we hope that Somerset County Council will be successful in securing another provider for the service."

The routes were previously run by Webberbus before the company abruptly ceased trading in May 2016.

First Bus stepped in initially until the end of October 2016, but after much public outcry at how losing the bus would leave vulnerable residents' stranded, a solution was found to save the bus for a year.