Anger as Carleton bus route appeal fails

Craven Herald: Disheartened parents listen on as North Yorkshire County Council rejects the findings of a road safety they hired to assess a walking route to school they feel is unsafe Disheartened parents listen on as North Yorkshire County Council rejects the findings of a road safety they hired to assess a walking route to school they feel is unsafe

Parents have expressed their anger after losing an appeal against plans to axe bus subsidies for Carleton school children.

Thirty-nine pupils from 30 families in Carleton attending high schools in Skipton face having their free bus passes taken away after North Yorkshire County Council rejected the parents’ claims that the route was unsafe.

Residents packed Carleton Village Hall to present an independent report from road safety experts which identified more than a dozen serious hazards on the walking route from the village to the three secondary schools in Skipton.

Steve Richardson, chairman of the Carleton Village Campaign for School Safety group, said the council had “completely ignored” a respected consultant’s conclusions that the route was unsafe for all pedestrians.

Mr Richardson said: “I am flabbergasted at the conduct of the officers and panel chair. We invited council officers and elected members to come and walk the route to see for themselves.

“None of them turned up choosing instead to drive the route into the village.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “An independent appeals panel has ruled that the walked route from Carleton to the secondary schools in Skipton is safe for students. The appeal was heard after parents contested a ‘safe’ assessment of the route.

“The route, which utilises a recently constructed footway near to the cemetery, was assessed by an experienced county council road safety officer as a safe walked route accompanied, as necessary, by an adult in line with Road Safety GB national guidelines that are adopted as NYCC policy.

“As the route to all three secondary schools is under the statutory walking distance of three miles for secondary age pupils, free home to school transport has been withdrawn.”

North Yorkshire county councillor Patrick Mulligan, who represents the Aire Valley, was disappointed by the decision.

“I didn’t feel the decision was wholly transparent,” said Coun Mulligan. “I thought the residents put together a good case, but the decision was handed down without any explanation.”

Mr Richardson said the parents group would be submitting a formal complaint and was preparing a dossier to be presented to the local government ombudsman.

After the ruling on Monday, the appeals panel also considered the detail of individual circumstances.

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