Residents and businesses feel the affect

IMPACT: Irene Sutch (left), Tommy Robinson and Celia Olley at the Elwick Village bus stop
IMPACT: Irene Sutch (left), Tommy Robinson and Celia Olley at the Elwick Village bus stop

ANGRY residents say they feel “cut off” as a result of the bus cuts.

The Mail spoke to several residents in Elwick village to see what impact the removal of all bus services has had on the community.

Businesses and village leaders say they too have witnessed the impact it has had on village life.

Irene Sutch, 77, a retired school cook and supermarket worker from Manor Close, said: “The cuts have left us feeling isolated and it is a form of discrimination against the elderly.

“We have had support from East Durham Communicare and we are hoping Coun Thompson can help with this travel club.”

The widowed mum-of-two added: “You used to see other people from the village all the time on the bus, but I haven’t seen some people for weeks.”

Retired sheeter Tommy Robinson, 63, from Martindale Close, said: “My wife is a carer for her dad and used to see him five times a week, but now it is down to three.

“It costs us £10 a day in taxis to get there and back so that is £30 a week.

“The cuts have had a very big impact on our family.”

Mr Robinson, who is married to Jennifer, 62 and has three children, added: “If the children are not working they pick us up, but they all work so it is difficult.

“I used to meet people on the bus, but now I hardly see people.”

Retired training advisor Maureen Hall, 74, of North Lane, said: “It is the lack of independence and the expense.

“Since July I have spent £500 on taxis.

“That is a huge expense on a pension,” added the widowed mum-of-four.

Chris Banks, chairman of Elwick Parish Council, said: “The older residents are having to spend a significant amount of their pension to get taxis into town and back.

“People offer lifts where they can, but it is not the same.

“People wishing to move are finding it hard to sell their properties and people are not wanting to move to the village because of the lack of public transport.

“The lack of buses could mean the village becomes unsustainable.

“We are almost five miles away from the nearest doctor or dentist.”

Steve Mailen, postmaster at Elwick Village Post Office, said residents feel isolated, but it has also affected the number of visitors to the village.

Mr Mailen said: “The bus cuts has definitely had an affect on village life.

“We used to have a lot more people coming to events in the village from Hartlepool, but obviously it is difficult now without any buses.

“Some of the older residents are even talking about moving out of the village due to the impact it has had.”