Sleepy Balsham?

Last week we looked at the charming village of Charmouth.  It has lots of services and facilities – far more than you would expect for the size of the permanent population, because it attracts large numbers of tourists and temporary visitors boost local businesses. 

So if Charmouth has far more services than you would expect for the size of the population, what about the opposite?  Do some places have far fewer services than would be expected?  Turns out the answer is “yes!”

Balsham in Cambridgeshire has a similar size of population to Charmouth, but where Charmouth has a variety of shops and cafes, Balsham has 1 shop, 1 café and 2 pubs.  That’s about it.

Balsham is full of lovely houses.  The original village has expanded greatly since the 1960s and new property is still being built.  Yet the shops struggle to survive.

The reason is 10 miles down the road – the city of Cambridge.  Many of Balsham’s residents commute to Cambridge for their work.  Thus they have regular access to all the city shops and services – all those possibilities, all that choice!

So that makes Balsham a dormitory settlement – yes, really!  That’s a place that has less services and facilities than would be expected for the size of population, because many people commute and use services near their place of work.