Hellesdon pensioners celebrate No 29 bus route turnaround

Hellesdon pensioners who were facing the loss of their bus service are celebrating after Norfolk County Council agreed to invest �13,000 a year to subsidise a replacement service.

As reported, a public meeting was held after First Buses revealed plans to alter the number 29 bus route between Norwich and Taverham from April 10, missing out Mill Corner and leaving people who live in the Hellesdon Mill area without public transport.

The meeting at Rotary Court was attended by about 70 people, plus representatives from the county council and First, both of whom were amenable to a compromise, and a petition to save the route gained over 200 signatures. And now, due to the strength of public support for the service, the county council is investing �13,000 a year to subsidise a new replacement bus service for the area, which will be run by First Buses.

The 28A will begin running from May 9 on a trial period for the rest of the year. It will stop at Hellesdon Mill Corner at 9.31am, 12.36pm and 2.21pm from Monday to Friday, and 8.56am, 12.36pm and 2.21pm on Saturdays. There will be two return trips, departing Norwich bus station at 12.15pm and 2pm from Monday to Saturday.

Wensum Green city councillor Rupert Read said: 'This is a real community success story which has been brought about by the action of the Green councillors in my ward in collaboration with a determined effort by a large number of local residents.

'In these tough budgetary times, this is a pretty amazing result, getting a new local bus service to serve this area. It shows what determined political/community activism can do.'

Chris Limbach, assistant operations manager for Norfolk County Council's Passenger Transport Network, said: 'We have listened to people's concerns about the number 29 route and have worked closely with First to come up with a route that will take in the Hellesdon Mill area.

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'We are subsidising the route to the tune of �13,000 as we recognise there is a need in the local area.'

Are you campaigning for a better bus service? Call David Bale on 01603 772427, or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.