Delight as school bus route reinstated for rural Norfolk village
Councillors have welcomed the news that roughly 20 schoolchildren will be able to take a direct bus to school once again from a remote Norfolk village.
Norfolk County Council has confirmed a new timetable for the Konectbus 20 serving Sporle which will be operational from Monday.
Students had been forced to travel to and from school via a connecting bus, an arrangement which frustrated many parents and pupils within the village.
The current service covers Litcham High School and Dereham schools, and travels through Swaffham,Necton, Little Dunham, Great Duham, Mileham, Beeston, Wendling and Scarning.
County councillor Ed Colman, who represents the Swaffham Division, has been working with officers to reinstate the route for Sporle after parents and parish councillors expressed their concern at alterations to the route.
Mr Colman said: “I am delighted the route has been reinstated, is really important for Sporle to have a direct school bus to Dereham-based schools.
“I lived in the village growing up and used the bus almost daily for seven years and I know how frustrating it would have been to catch connecting buses to get to school.
“A significant number of parents contacted me to raise their concerns about the changes to the provision and I want to thank them for their patience while we have found a solution.
“I also want to thank the county council officer who has been leading on this work for finding a swift resolution which will continue to allow students to travel to school in Dereham.
“The timing of the route being reinstated is also very pleasing, the clocks go back next month and this the best decision when you consider safety and practicality.”
Vice-chairman of Sporle Parish Council Kevin McLeod said many parents were buying season ticket passes but only one child was getting on the bus.
Mr McLeod added: “This is good news, I had a lot of worried pupils and concerned parents contact me as did other parish councillors, which I passed on to councillor Colman.”
“It is an important service for kids in the village and to have the route back operation is good news and helps keep Sporle a great place to live with good transport links.
"Any map will show you it is a very long walk to access a major road to get a bus.
"The parish council fully back the move as this is a rural village so this is brilliant news."
A spokesman for Konectbus said the revised route 20 will pick up in the village at 7.32am.
He added: "The current route 11 meant changing buses at Swaffham which was neither convenient nor attractive and has meant students being dropped off at stops in nearby villages for parents to collect."
Network manager Steve Royall said: "We hope the additional stop at Sporle will deal with the issues highlighted by many parents and that use is made of this bus service to ensure it remains viable to run.
"We would also like to remind students to ensure they bring a face covering to wear and hand sanitiser to use before and after they travel on our buses and adhere to the designated school and year group zones as marked out on our buses.”