Bus Services after the Spending Review - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from P Taylor (BUS 113)

I have lived for 41 years in Elwick Village, about four miles west of Hartlepool. I have eyesight problems and have never driven. For the first 10 years, until my wife learned to drive and we purchased a car, we and our two daughters relied entirely on public transport to get to and from the village. This was sometimes inconvenient, but it was a price we were prepared to pay to live in an attractive village which was - and is - a socially mixed community rather than a single class suburb.

In recent years there has been much talk in political circles of localism and the "big society", but the counterpoint to this as far as our village is concerned has been a sustained attack from various quarters on our independence, and even our viability. The village community has organized to help fight off attempts by the Post Office to close the village office and by the Borough Council to close the village school; it is likely soon to have to fight to retain a village Rector against amalgamation attempts by the Church Commissioners, and to maintain representation on Hartlepool Borough Council against changes proposed by the Boundary Commission. You will excuse us for feeling cynical in face of the rhetoric of politicians.

Against this background, the loss of the village bus link is damaging blow. It saddens me that families like ours was when we moved here, will no longer be able to choose to live in Elwick, and that, deprived of its transport link, the village will pitch further towards being just another middle class dormitory ; a vibrant village community will be lost. On a personal level, my wife and I are both over 70. We have no wish to leave the village, but can foresee a time when for us, as is already the case for a number of elderly residents, it will just be too difficult to continue to live here in consequence of the lack of public transport and other service cuts. In bringing about the removal of the public transport link, the Borough Council is making it difficult, if not impossible, for a proportion of its residents to access those remaining public services to whose upkeep they contribute in paying one of the highest Council Taxes in the country.

April 2011

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Prepared 11 August 2011