Children face ‘dangerous’ walk to school after bus route withdrawn
PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 August 2020
Angry parents in Winscombe are petitioning for the reinstatement of a school bus service after it was suddenly withdrawn without consultation.
More than 1,700 people have signed the petition calling for the service to Churchill Academy to continue.
North Somerset Council sent letters to parents stating the bus service was being withdrawn, along with a map of a designated safe walking or cycle route for children to take to the school.
Parents say the hour-long route is ‘dangerous’ and goes through unlit lanes, busy country roads with 60mph speed limits and blind spots and through fields.
Families are concerned their children will have to walk the route in the dark during the winter, and in all weathers.
Lindsay Bailey, whose daughter is in year 10, said: “They are saying it’s a new safe route, but it was deemed unsafe before and nothing has changed. We had free school transport because it was not safe and over time the route has got worse.
“There is a bank slide along the Strawberry Line and is due to shut in September for repair work.
“I’m hugely worried, they are expecting children as young as 11 to do this route. I wouldn’t walk along the Strawberry Line in the dark on my own.”
Winscombe ward councillor , Ann Harley, said she will do ‘everything in her power’ to support parents.
She said: “I cannot express clearly enough how dangerous this route is, the roads and Strawberry Line are not safe enough for the use of a lot of children cycling or walking to school, the parents know that and I know that, there has been little or no consultation with myself or the parents, and for anything to be successful you have to have consultation.”
North Somerset Council has since apologised for the concern caused by the letter and has said it will keep the service running until the ‘safe route’ is completed.
Its spokesman said: “We will keep the current bus service in place for as long as it takes for the safe route to school to be completed and also while some repair works are carried out on a section of the Strawberry Line. This is very likely to be until sometime in November.
“We will be writing to families next week with more information.”
To sign the petition, click here.
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