A temporary reprieve that will keep two bus routes linking Huntingdonshire villages with the district’s market towns running has been granted by Cambridgeshire County Council.

The route 35, which links Huntingdon to Chatteris, and the route 30, which runs from Ramsey to Huntingdon, had been due to stop running on December 31 after operator Stagecoach said the routes were no longer economically viable.

The routes are used by villagers in Bury, Wyton, Warboys, and Hartford, as well as Ramsey and Huntingdon.

However, Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to fund replacement services for both routes from January 1, with no change in timetable and no break in service.

The reprieve will last until the end of August next year, while a review into the future of public transport in the county is conducted.

Councillor Doug McIlwain, the mayor of Ramsey, said: "The reprieve is good news for Ramsey and for the community but they have to use the service, it really is use it or lose it. If people don't use it, it will give Stagecoach an excuse to stop running it in the future.

"I have to thank Adela Costello for all her work on getting the reprieve. She fought tirelessly behind the scenes."

News of the reprieve comes after campaigners in Ramsey launched a petition against plans to axe the routes.

Councillor McIlwain; deputy mayor and county councillor Adela Costello; Lisa Duffy and John Palmer, district councillors for Ramsey; trustees from community charity Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust and local residents all came out to support the launch of the petition last Friday.

Val Fendley, from Ramsey Neighbourhood Trust, said more than 800 signatures had been gathered in a week opposing plans to drop the route.

She added: "This service is essential for the rural market town of Ramsey. Local people use the route to get to work, to the Job Centre to sign on, for hospital appointments and to reach other essential services, such as Huntingdonshire District Council and Luminus housing association.

"All ages are affected - parents with young children, teenagers, and older people with no other transport option."