Bid to save school bus

Pictured, back row - left to right, are Shirland and Higham Parish Cllr Nigel Dawes, council vice chairman David Williamson, council clerk Niall Johnson, NE Derbyshire Distrtict Cllr Derrick Skinner, and parish cllr Barry Barnes with protestors.
Pictured, back row - left to right, are Shirland and Higham Parish Cllr Nigel Dawes, council vice chairman David Williamson, council clerk Niall Johnson, NE Derbyshire Distrtict Cllr Derrick Skinner, and parish cllr Barry Barnes with protestors.
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CAMPAIGNERS are appealing to county council bosses to reconsider cutting a school bus service because they fear the plan will force pupils to walk along dangerous roads.

Shirland and Higham Parish Council organised a protest march from The Greyhound Pub, at Higham, with about 60 campaigners to highlight Derbyshire County Council’s plans to stop the school bus service from Mickley to Shirland Primary School.

Parish council chairman Barry Barnes said: “The roads the children will have to walk along will be bad in the summer but in the winter when it’s dark there’s a real danger someone is going to be seriously hurt.

“Whilst we accept the need to save money, the proposal seems to be at the expense of the most vulnerable - children who can’t fight back.”

The parish council claims if children lose the county council, subsidised Freeway Coaches service they will be forced to walk up to two miles and cross the busy A61 Higham Bend or along busy country roads with no pavements or lighting.

It arranged the protest march between Mickley and the school, on Saturday, after asking the county council to carry out an assessment before a decision is expected by April.

Cllr Barnes added: “The council might put another bus on but it may not be subsidised which could leave parents paying fares they can’t afford.”

The plan is part of over £3m of county council cuts to the public transport service and travel discount budget. It includes the withdrawal of subsidies on 42 bus services resulting in some stoppages as well as plans to stop subsidising 73 school bus services.

Rex Moakes, Shirland Primary School governors’ chairman said governors feel the service should be retained and subsidised to prevent injuries.

A county council spokesman said: “We’re speaking to bus operators to see if we can find an operator to run this bus service on a commercial basis.

“We’re also in the middle of assessing if the route meets criteria needed to be judged hazardous and a report will go to councillors to consider shortly.”

If your youngsters are facing a potentially dangerous school bus cut contact comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk. jon.cooper@derbyshiretimes.co.uk.