Fight goes on to stop school bus service axe
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(Labour) and Willaston and Rope ward councillor Sarah Pochin (Conservative), who also represents routes which have been withdrawn.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