The Committee received a report from the Director of Children’s Services providing the contextual information behind the County Council’s rolling review of School Transport arrangements in light of infrastructure improvements which have been made in recent years.
The Committee noted that the appellants child had been refused School Transport for September 2019 and the appellant was appealing on Safety grounds rather than distance. This refusal is as a result of policy changes which came into effect in September 2018, with further changes taking place in September 2019; namely that children will qualify for School Transport from their 5th birthday instead of when they start school.
The Committee heard that the Council’s view was that the route, and similar alternatives, were available accompanied or unaccompanied by a parent.
The Committee noted that individuals in the Fleet area had formed a group in protest of this decision but that a Road Safety Officer had inspected the estate and route via Cove road and found it to be safe. The appellant appealed this decision but was unsuccessful at Stage 1, leading to this Stage 2 appeal.
With the School Transport withdrawn, parents do have the option to purchase a ‘Privilege Seat’ on the bus route at a cost of £600 a year.
In response to questions members heard that;
· The ‘Privilege Seats’ are confirmed to be available for 2019/20 but there is uncertainty in relation to their continued availability.
· On King’s road there are potentially misleading signage in relation to cycle paths, indicated a cycle path and cyclists being allowed on the pavement concurrently.