Councillors fight to save school buses
A GROUP of Conservative, Labour and Independent councillors have joined forces to fight Cheshire East’s decision to axe school buses saying the safety of children must come first.
The councillors - who represent areas where pupils will have to walk the disputed ‘safe’ routes to schools - have put their political differences aside in an effort to reverse a decision taken by seven Conservative cabinet members last week.
Led by Labour councillor Dorothy Flude - whose constituency in Crewe includes an affected walking route - they have launched an official challenge by calling-in the decision, which means it will be looked at again by a the Children and Families scrutiny committee.
Councillors included in the call in are Conservative councillor Jon Weston, who represents Bollington.
He said: “The safest and best way to get the children to school is by bus.”
Independent councillor Amanda Stott, who represents Bollington, said the council should allow parents to be heard before making a decision.
She said: “Hopefully by getting it called in and getting further debate and discussion we can get across all those thoughts, views and concerns that everybody is raising now.
“Maybe parents would feel better if there was CCTV and if the council had gone some way to making it safe and less oppressive, or at the very least putting in a pedestrian crossing on the Silk Road, but they haven’t offered any of this. The council haven’t met parents at any points.”
Coun Stott has also criticised Coun George Hayes for suggesting parents are responsible for ensuring their child arrives at school safely.
She added: “He is the deputy portfolio holder for Children and Families and on the Corporate Parenting Committee - what hat is he wearing when he is saying that’s it’s the parents responsibility to get children safely to school?”
Former Council leader coun Michael Jones, who was in charge the last time it was proposed to axe the free school buses, said he still considered the route to be unsafe.
He added: “It’s just ridiculous for the head of corporate parenting to say we’re not responsible for their personal safety.
“If we’re not responsible who is? We all are, everybody, including the council.”
He added: “God help those councillors if someone does happen to get injured walking that route.”