Bus scheme to help village pubs in Essex

Tray of drinks
Image caption Seven evening tours have been planned for this summer

A scheme aimed at halting the decline of rural pubs in north Essex will begin next month.

A rural pub bus will take people to village pubs in the Colchester district once a month between May and November.

It is the first of its kind in Essex and could be rolled out to other areas if it proves a success.

It will be run by the local branch of CAMRA and the Colchester Community Voluntary Service, with funding from the Rural Community Council of Essex.

Over the summer period the minibus will visit a total of 22 villages which are not easily accessible without a car.

'Terrible deterioration'

John Durrant from Colchester & North East Essex Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said he hoped the scheme would provide a shot in the arm to the pubs and communities.

"It will give them a bit of a kick for extra business and show people from the towns how good these little pubs are," he said.

"There's no local transport at night to a lot of these place as some are right in the middle of nowhere."

Mr Durrant said it was becoming increasingly difficult for out-of-town pubs to survive.

"I've seen a terrible deterioration.

"I'm originally from Norfolk and a lot of the little pubs out there in the countryside have now gone," he said.

Danny Douglas from the Rural Community Council of Essex said: "We recognise that pubs are the last bulwark in lots of villages.

"We'd like to try to run it so, for instance, we'll take people out to pubs on these evenings, but also take youngsters from the villages into urban areas to go out."

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