Plans to withdraw Norfolk village’s school bus service opposed
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2013
A Norfolk County Council cost-cutting plan to withdraw a free bus service has been met with stiff opposition in Great Ellingham.
The council are proposing to build a three mile footpath, costing £60,000, along the B1077 between Great Ellingham and Attleborough Academy.
However, parents from the village have argued that the proposal will endanger their children, and almost 200 people have joined a Facebook campaign to save the school bus route.
Heidi Halsall, parent, said: 'The road is narrow with blind corners and large vehicles frequently passing. The council say they will ensure reasonable safety, but what is considered to be of reasonable safety doesn't seem to be clear - certainly our interpretations aren't the same.'
Mrs Halsall said the proposal represents a waste of money.
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She added: 'The path is going to cost twice as much as running the bus service. Four buses come through the village from Attleborough, surely they could cut costs through bus sharing instead?
'If the path is built it will be a waste of money because most parents will insist on driving their children to school instead.'
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Attleborough Academy have also voiced concerns over the proposal.
A spokesperson said: 'We are extremely concerned about the proposals and the implications for the safety, and safeguarding, of our students travelling to and from Great Ellingham.
'We will be making detailed representations to Norfolk County Council through the public consultation.
'We are also seeking meetings with our local county councillors to discuss our concerns, as well as potential alternatives and solutions, as a matter of urgency.'
Norfolk County Council have defended the proposal.
A spokesperson said: 'Wherever appropriate, we want to make it possible for young people to walk to school rather than having to rely on a school bus service funded by the taxpayer.
'We are currently consulting parents of affected children and other interested parties on whether we can improve the walking route between Great Ellingham and Attleborough in such a way that the route can be classed as an available route, as assessed against national road safety guidelines and County Council policy. T
'This doesn't mean that the bus service would necessarily be withdrawn however.'