MP Norman Lamb joins battle for free school transport at Happisburgh Primary School
07:30 14 July 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
Parents of youngsters being forced to walk on “dangerous” country roads to school were joined in the fight to save their free transport by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.
Mr Lamb said a plan to stop the free bus service was “unbelievable” and sympathised with the families when he visited Happisburgh Primary School to sign letters of support.
He was asked to join the campaign after parents of 13 pupils at the school were told their children would have to walk through fields and along busy roads from their homes near Happisburgh Common or face a £74 per term fee.
In the past Norfolk County Council decided the route was too dangerous and so provided free seats on a bus to the school.
Following a review, the council said it had identified a new, safer route along Short Lane, Grub Street and Lantern Lane, which parents claim is too dangerous.
The bus will still run, transporting children from further afield, and parents have said they will be forced to quit their jobs to escort the youngsters.
Mr Lamb signed letters to the council’s interim director of environment, transport and development Tom McCabe and interim director of children’s services Sheila Lock.
“I hope common sense will prevail”, said Mr Lamb. “It is not realistic these days with the cars, and parents are understandably concerned about the safety of their children.
“When you hear about parents suggesting they should have to give up work or reduce their hours it is ridiculous.”
A petition, signed by almost 200 people, has also been sent to the council calling for them to reconsider.
Diabetes sufferer Christine Gayfer currently takes her grandchildren to the bus in the morning while their parents work, but said there is no way she could walk the 1.7-mile distance each day.
If the council refuses to reconsider its decision, the next appeal stage will include a council walk of the route.
Has your school been affected by the council’s rolling review of school transport? Email firstname.lastname@example.org