Calls to drop bus-cut plans

Shirland and Higham Parish Council in Derbyshire is calling on the county council to drop plans to cut a school bus service to one of the county’s most deprived areas. 30 children from the village of Mickley will have to walk over two miles and cross the busy A61 to reach their new school in Shirland.

There are only two routes available for children to walk to the school from Mickley. The first involves crossing the busy A61 at Higham Bend on a blind corner. Two people have been killed and one seriously injured on the same stretch of the A61 in the last two years. The second route involves walking along two busy country roads with no pavements or lighting.

The parish council has asked Derbyshire County Council to carry out an assessment on the alternative routes but has so far received nothing. Now it’s planning an information event to highlight the dangers faced by the children if they’re forced to walk to school.

Parents, children, Derbyshire Police, North East Derbyshire District councillors and the local MP Dennis Skinner will meet in the car park of The Greyhound pub this Saturday, February 4, at 10am. The pub is near Higham Bend where children will have to cross the road.

Parish council chairman Barry Barnes said: “The roads the children will have to walk along will be bad enough in the summer but in the winter months, when it’s dark or twilight, there’s a real danger someone is going to be seriously hurt or worse.

Whilst we accept the need to save money and examine public finances, the proposals seem to be at the expense of the most vulnerable members of our society; children who can’t fight back.”

In contrast to the cuts to this service the County Council is planning on spending £7.39m on improving broadband across the county and is offering £50 high street vouchers to anyone who responds to its survey.

Parish chairman Barry Barnes said: “Shirland and Higham Parish Council believes the safety of children is rather more important than broadband.”