Littleport, I thought was great years ago…
It has history, had shops we could actually use and get to, shoe shop, a proper hardware store, several pubs, butchers, greengrocer and 2 banks.. This was at least 5-15 years ago.
Now, it seems if you want to run a business here, it’s either got to be a million pound funded venture in the business parks, or a takeaway in the centre of town…
Why am I calling it a town? It’s still a village technically, a huge village which stretches for 5 miles from north to south with over 8,800 people living in it.
Why do I get the feeling its going wrong? Well, the growth of population is good. The traffic is far too much for our roads, with most of our main routes having on street parking in front of busy junctions.
Tried to cross or get onto Wisbech Road recently? Seems to take ages to wait for cars to stop coming at silly little intervals. With the Big Co-Op on that road you’d think there’d be some crossing points put in with its twists and poor visibility on most of it?.. Nope.
What else was there? Oh yes, our last butcher retired a few months ago, so now the only place you’ll get fresh meat or vegetables/fruit is the supermarkets (not really that fresh…), Greengrocer went many years ago and is very much missed. There is a small farm shop from what I can tell past the industrial area, very far from town center.
Surrounding (lack of) Infrastructure..
We have a (shared) cycle lane what goes 3 quarters of the way around a busy roundabout!.. Exciting. It’s also a shared cycle path what doesn’t tell you until you’re up to the 2nd crossing of it.. Good work planners! Also it’s not wide enough for pedestrian and cyclists and with the far end (industrial side of the roundabout) looking like it’s designed to kill cyclists thanks to the trees what block any view of traffic from the Ely side of the A10.
The countryside is great to cycle through.. Just watch out for the wind, It’s so flat here that it’ll blast you off when anyone overtakes you. Oh and you thought Little Downham or Soham was only 5 miles away? you have to go at least 8-20 miles in twisty roads to get to them.. Still quicker to cycle than bus… Okay there is a quicker way to Downham by getting down the back road.. For Soham there is a detour around River Lark which avoids most of the traffic but is no means faster.
Want to go somewhere with no car? Well to Ely with you and at least an hours wait to change over as most of the buses to other villages/towns are scheduled badly and run very few runs. Train is not much better with choice of 2 routes.. Downham Market and Ely. Want to learn to drive? Easy.. Want to pass your tests? Kings Lynn or Cambridge for you, and over a miles walk to theory centres.
Up to this month, I was a motorbiker. Engine issues, abnormal punctures, aches and pains from riding and odd noises (from both me and bike I guess..) means I’d be carting it to an engineer regularly.. except the nearest is Witchford (around 18 miles..) who’s very busy. No car, no trailer, no help has made me think sod it and sell. Not a good show for Harley’s birthplace. I don’t drive as I’ve never had time nor the money to do so, now I have thats proving to be a pain to do as well.
If you use the current schools, and walk to and from them, Good on you. I lived next door to a school and majority of the time you couldn’t get down the road for cars, people, trucks.. busiest and noisiest times of the day for that road.
So what started this odd rant?
Our last bank is closing this month, but its okay.. we can use the very busy small Post Office to deposit money.. But not sort out loans, or the banks mess ups or anything else… You know, what you actually visit the bank for!.. Unless you love queuing for the only time at lunch you get. With the loss of the Bank, and strain on Post Office increased, I fear that other shops will lose out on business as people will try to get these services in other towns.
Barclays (the last bank remaining in Littleport) is claiming that Online banking has outpaced the branch and their customers are using the Ely branch anyway (maybe 8am-5pm working customers get time to get in the Ely one during lunch?). This seems a bit of a silly reason as most of the town is either elderly or untrusting of online services. Either way, isolationism of any group is not a good way to go. Our older generation needs the human interaction of the Bank staff to be reassured of things, a service you don’t get from a computer even if you are happy to use them.
Ely is going the same way, only with much higher business rates thrown in, more traffic, and less independent shops as time goes on.
But I guess its okay because Takeaways will save our local economy..
It’s not all bad!
On the positive side, We’re getting a new Primary and Secondary schools (and Leisure Centre?). We have a masterplan already released a few years back indicating new industrial and employment zones along with housing areas. So far only the schools have the thumbs up, with tons of negotiations involving our MP required to help that.
Here’s some articles on our town’s future
Part of me wants this town.. Sorry Village, to succeed and grow nicely.. the rest of me wants to get out of here while my legs and mind works properly.