Fight goes on to stop school bus ser­vice axe

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - DANIELLE ROPER

PAR­ENTS and coun­cil­lors are de­mand­ing an ex­tra cab­i­net meet­ing to re­con­sider the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to axe a free school bus.

Cheshire East Coun­cil’s cab­i­net de­cided last month that it will no longer fund a school bus for stu­dents trav­el­ling from Bolling­ton to Tytherington School.

But de­ter­mined cam­paign­ers are urg­ing the cab­i­net to re­con­sider, claim­ing the walk­ing al­ter­na­tive – along the Mid­dle­wood Way – is too dan­ger­ous for stu­dents and is not ac­ces­si­ble by the emer­gency ser­vices.

Cheshire East Coun­cil said the emer­gency ser­vices have ‘no ma­jor con­cerns’ with ac­cess­ing the pub­lic right of way.

A spokesman said: “I can con­firm that we have ap­proached lo­cal fire, police and am­bu­lance ser­vices ask­ing if they are able to gain emer­gency ac­cess to Mid­dle­wood Way, Mac­cles­field.

“All have re­sponded telling us they see no ma­jor con­cerns with ac­cess to this pub­lic right of way, with Cheshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice stat­ing that they have sev­eral means of gain­ing ac­cess to any locked gates.”

And Dun­can Palin, sta­tion man­ager for Mac­cles­field Fire Sta­tion agreed, say­ing: “There is nowhere fire­fight­ers can­not ac­cess in the event of an emer­gency, and our emer­gency ve­hi­cles carry all the equip­ment needed to en­able crews to do their job ef­fec­tively in any sit­u­a­tion.”

A spokesman for North West Am­bu­lance ad­mit­ted paramedics do not carry bolt cut­ters, but said: “We al­ways en­deav­our to work closely with ex­ter­nal part­ners such as coun­cils and schools to come up with so­lu­tions to any is­sues that arise as a re­sult of changes to ac­cess.”

But Coun Amanda Stott, who rep­re­sents Bolling­ton, says she is not con­vinced with their re­sponses. She said: “If the emer­gency ser­vices had been given more time they could have given a much bet­ter idea of the safety of the Mid­dle­wood Way in­stead of just answering generic ques­tions.

“Their re­sponse was not based on a real un­der­stand­ing of the ques­tions asked. Hope­fully con­science and com­mon sense will pre­vail and the cab­i­net will re­con­sider their de­ci­sion.”

Coun­cil­lor Stott’s call for a special coun­cil meet­ing has been sup­ported by Crewe South ward coun­cil­lor Dorothy Flude (Labour) and Wil­las­ton and Rope ward coun­cil­lor Sarah Pochin (Con­ser­va­tive), who also rep­re­sents routes which have been with­drawn. It is hoped the meet­ing will take place af­ter the next coun­cil meet­ing on De­cem­ber 15.

Coun Amanda Stott

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