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Concern raised over changes to school buses

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 10, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Concern raised over changes to school buses
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MAJOR concerns have been raised following the announcement by Staffordshire County Council that a review of school transport for pupils in the Leek area is to take place.

The proposals, which were revealed in last week's Post & Times, were raised at last week's meeting of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's health and community overview and scrutiny panel, which was attended by Staffordshire county councillor Robert Marshall, who is the cabinet member for health and welling on the authority, along with cabinet support member councillor Mark Sutton.

The issue was also raised at the monthly meeting of Ipstones Parish Council.

Speaking at the health meeting, councillor Linda Malyon, said: "If the county council tries to charge parents they will have all out war. It states children could have to walk a mile each way and use services buses. The Moorlands area is vast and there should be proper school buses."

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Cheddleton councillor Mike Bowen said that many children were already being forced to stand on double decker buses which run through Cheddleton to Leek schools.

He said: "There is a huge theme over safety. If we have to resort to public transport how safe will it be.

"If it was a school bus there would be seat belts.

"How can the county council say anything about safety when this is taking place. Children should not be standing."

Ipstones Parish Council voted to send a letter to the county council objecting to the proposals.

Councillor Patrick Stimpson said: "The county council is shaving pennies off everything they can, yet they are paying officers thousands of pounds. It is disgusting."

Councillor Brian Snow raised concerns that young children would be sitting on buses beside people they did not know, while councillor Heather Morris asked what would happened to the public as they was only one bus early in the morning to Leek.

In a letter to parents and carers Jackie Bridgen, senior transport co-ordinator said: "As a result of the review it is possible that some aspects of the transport service including the operator, pick up points and times, bus routes and the length of the journey for some pupils may change.

"Where local bus services exist, young people aged 11 and over may be allocated a bus pass on a local service rather than on a contracted school bus.

"Pupils may be required to walk up to one mile in each direction to or from a designated pick-up/drop-off point."

Mr Marshall agreed to take back the concerns of the health committee to the county council regarding children being forced to stand on buses.

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