The majority of news we hear about transport relates either to the conurbations, city regions as they are now called, or the need to whiz about Britain in high speed trains. But the plight of the small market town and its rural hinterland is no less important.
Market towns are at the core of our shire counties, quintessentially English and often gems of our heritage in the history of its buildings. Traditionally the market town has been the centre of a thriving rural economy, the relationship between town and surrounding villages cemented in the local economy and society.
But all that is dramatically changing. The free for all of housing expansion is now seeing small towns growing at a faster rate than either their fabric or local services can cope with. Nowhere is this more obvious than with Ledbury in Herefordshire. Pressure on the historic town centre in terms of traffic congestion, air quality and a deteriorating environment non sympathetic to pedestrians and cyclists is growing alarmingly. Given that historic town centres have no space to cope with a dramatic increase in the use of the car, other than by re-planning and selective demolition, the need for an alternative form of transport becomes self-evident.
To find out more, access the Rail & Bus for Herefordshire website where you can read the report on an electric town bus service for Ledbury.