Protesters to gather as free bus D-day looms
PARENTS and children are expected to turn out in force next week in the hope of seeing Cheshire East’s full council reverse the cabinet decision to axe free school buses and make children walk routes they deem unsafe.
Campaigners argue that the Middlewood Way - a poorly -lit former rail track with a steep embankment - is not safe for children to use between Bollington and Tytherington High School and have called for the council to overturn its decision to withdraw free school buses.
Headteachers, staff, parents and pupils Tytherington High School in Macclesfield, and Malbank School in Nantwich, protested outside the council’s HQ at October’s cabinet meeting where members voted in favour of scrapping the free school buses.
Now campaigners are hoping to turn out in force again, after the council confirmed it would hold a ‘special meeting’ on Thursday, February 23, to discuss the issue.
The special meeting - which will take place dur- ing the next full council meeting - has been called by a cross-party group of councillors for a vote of no confidence in the cabinet decision to scrap the free school buses on the unsafe walking routes.
Bollington councillor Amanda Stott, who is responsible for calling the meeting with councillors across the borough, said she is hoping all council- lors vote with their conscience.
She said: “I hope that all councillors, regardless of politics, vote with their conscience and actually make a stand on behalf of those children.”
The meeting will be the first special council meeting ever to be called by a cross-party group of councillors in Cheshire East.
Cheshire East Council has always maintained its plans to axe free school buses on a total of five routes were ‘to ensure greater fairness, encourage walking to school and deliver savings to local taxpayers’.
The council also pointed out there are numerous health benefits for children walking to school, especially at a time when 28percent of Year six children in Cheshire East are overweight or obese.
The special council meeting will be held during the full council meeting at Sandbach Town Hall next Thursday (February 23).
It will begin at 11am. Anyone attending is asked to arrive early because of anticipated parking problems on market day.
The Magick Otters delivered a vibrant and colourful set at the fundraising event
Coun Amanda Stott (inset) called the special meeting on axing free school buses as campaigners insist the alternative, walking along The Middlewood Way, is not safe