Terence has seen bus services to his Norfolk village dwindle over the years; he is concerned that the remaining services might be withdrawn.
“Ludham is a beautiful village in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, popular with tourists, particularly those on boating and caravanning holidays. My wife and I moved to this part of the world over twenty years ago to escape the from the city and enjoy rural life. Neither of us drive and therefore we are totally reliant on public transport for work, shopping and socialising.
“When we first moved into the village, things were very different to now: the buses ran seven days a week. On weekdays they ran from early in the morning until 7:30 in the evenings. Over the years we have seen these services slowly erode due to cuts in subsidies and routes being unviable. Whilst Ludham is not a particularly small village, it is not viewed as commercially viable by the bus companies. There have been several occasions when it has looked as though we were going to lose the service altogether. The notifications normally begin with ‘Due to low passenger numbers it is with regret that…’ which we have come to dread.
“At the time of writing, two companies are running regular services to the village, one between Yarmouth and Cromer, the other connecting Ludham to Horning, Wroxham Stalham, Sutton and Catfield. These are being financed by the government for the duration of the Covid pandemic and are aimed mainly at key workers. We are both extremely worried that they will withdraw this support, leading to the village being cut off from all forms of public transport.
“While we have both had the luxury of being able to work from home during the crisis, this will not last forever, and at least some of our work will involve travelling via Norwich.
“The nearest rail station is in Wroxham, over five miles away. The only other means of transport available to us here is by taxi and this would not be a viable solution on a day-to -day basis.
“There are many residents in North Norfolk that are over pensionable age who rely on public transport for shopping and socialising. Equally, there are young students who also rely on the buses to get to college and to their Saturday jobs. Tourists, especially those from caravan parks also rely on the services whilst staying in Ludham and Horning. Many of the amenities, shops, pubs etc. whilst used by residents, also rely on tourist trade and this will be affected by loss of transport services. When buses stopped running between Ludham and Horning, we heard that bookings one of the caravan parks were substantially down.
“Should the bus services in our village be withdrawn, the village would lose out economically we would be forced to sell the home we love and plan to retire in.”