The leader of North Somerset Council Mike Bell has said he is “confident” that an important bus route to Weston-super-Mare will soon be reinstated.

Locals have been crying out for the return of the 126 along its full route from Wells to Weston-super-Mare. The bus was slated to be axed last year but Somerset Council stepped in to keep it running between Wells and Axbridge, although it no longer runs to Weston-super-Mare.

Now North Somerset Council leader Mike Bell has said there is funding to restore the full route and he is “confident” the bus will run to Weston-super-Mare again soon, while at the West of England Combined Authority’s joint committee, which contains North Somerset despite the council not being a member of the combined authority, on Friday October 6.

At the meeting, Transport campaigner David Redgwell urged him to reinstate the full service. He said: “We got people unable to access the hospital in Weston-super-Mare. We have got young people unable to access the college. And the bus service improvement around Hutton hasn’t happened, apart from the number 10.”

Mr Bell told Mr Redgewell: “We are definitely working on the 126 service and getting that back as quickly as possible. You are right, it is funded as part of the [bus service improvement plan] arrangement and we are confident we will get that in place quickly.”

Taking to social media platform X, previously Twitter, after the meeting, Mr Bell said: “We’ve secured funding but need an operator.”

Before it was axed, the bus served Sandford and Locking on its way from Axbridge into Weston-super-Mare. The reinstated 126 is also planned to serve Hutton and Uphill.

The funding will keep the bus running until 2026. The council had hoped it would be reinstated in the autumn but the tender process to find someone to run the full Wells to Weston-super-Mare 126 route has so far been unsuccessful.