WARRINGTON Borough Council has performed a U-turn over a home-to-school walking route following an approach from MP Helen Jones.
And the Warrington North MP has praised the authority for “seeing sense” over the issue.
She says the council has accepted a compromise and shown a willingness to listen to people’s concerns.
In 2015, the council made it clear that pupils travelling between Croft and Culcheth High School via Wigshaw/Glaziers Lane would continue to receive free transport as the route was considered to be hazardous.
It was confirmed that this arrangement would remain in place for “the foreseeable future.”
This summer parents received letters confirming the free transport would remain in place – but only a few days later received a further communication saying it would be withdrawn because the route was now considered as “non-hazardous.”
Worried parents contacted the MP who raised their concerns with the council and proposed a compromise solution which has been accepted by the council.
Pupils who receive free travel as of September this year will continue to do so until they finish their statutory education – that is until the end of their Year 11 studies.
Free travel will not be available for new starters from September next year.
Ms Jones said: “I am delighted that the council has seen sense on this issue and accepted my compromise solution. To suggest that ‘the foreseeable future’ meant less than two years was difficult for parents to accept.
“Whilst I still believe the route to be hazardous, the compromise at least allows time for parents of new starters in 2018 to budget for school transport costs whilst allowing those currently in receipt of free travel to continue to do so until the end of their Year 11 studies.
“It also allows time for further discussions about the status of this route.
“The council have shown a willingness to listen to people’s concerns and to make adjustments to their original decision as a result – they should be congratulated on doing so.”
Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft borough councillors Matt Smith, Joan Grime and Jan Davidson issued a joint statement, saying: “We remain seriously concerned about the safety of children using this proposed pedestrian route, in particular in relation to the unusually wide road crossing at the junction with Glaziers Lane. The council only consider this crossing to be non-hazardous if a privately owned hedge is kept cut back, and this cannot be guaranteed all year round. We welcome the delay to the implementation of the changes which will see the safety of many Croft children maintained.”