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WATCH: Perton school walk protestors secure council review over safety

By Thomas Parkes | South Staffordshire | News | Published:

A council has vowed to review a school route deemed ‘unsafe’ by campaigners.

Organiser Kathyrn Hart with her children, Henry and Lydia with the Head of Codsall High School, Alun Harding.

Parents called on Staffordshire County Council to ensure pupils at Codsall High School received free transport due to the condition of roads leading to the school.

More than 60 parents and children walked half of the route yesterday to showcase how ‘unsafe’ the route was and to raise awareness of the campaign and petition, which has attracted more than 2,000 signatures.

WATCH: Protestors and school headteacher speak out

Perton Action For Safe School Travel protest over route

Current government rules state pupils living within three miles of a school have to walk.

Parents also criticised a bus pass costing £625, but Staffordshire County Council has since announced it is reducing this price to £494.

Philip White, the council’s cabinet member for learning and employability, said: “It is still the council’s position the walking route to Codsall High School is safe but in response to concerns raised by a number of parents, the route will be reviewed in the new school term.

Campaigners on the move.

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“The council does not have a responsibility to provide transport for teenagers living within three miles and parents are free to make their own arrangements.

“However, we realise due to the time taken in finalising new transport contracts in this area the option to buy a spare seat on a school bus has increased in cost at short notice.

“Therefore, while the walking route is assessed and the matter considered further, the cost of a spare seat for those not entitled to free transport to Codsall High will be set at £494 for the 2018/19 school year only.

Campaigners on the move.

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Campaigners on the move.

“This is the equivalent of £1.30 a trip and is the same cost as for any teenager in the county using the Your Staffordshire card to get to school each day.

"As well as a full pass, parents of non-entitled children can buy a one-way pass for £247. For either option, they can pay monthly, termly or annually by direct debit via the council website.”

Kathyrn Hart, who started the petition and is a member of the Perton Action for Safe School Travel (PASST), led the walk yesterday.

She said she was happy an assessment of the route was going to be carried out, but was concerned about what the outcome might be.

She said: “I’m happy but I’m also apprehensive because they have always deemed the route safe when it isn’t. We could be going through the same cycle again, but we’re not going to stop – we’re in this for the long haul.”

Asked about the walk Ms Hart added: “It was a really good turnout and we had a couple of Parish Councillors and the headteacher of Codsall High School.

“We started off at the bus stop at The Parkway in Perton and we got up to the A41. It was calm for the walk but as soon as the school holidays are finished you can triple the traffic

Campaigners on the move.

“Because there was so many of us, people were a bit more lenient driving past us and letting us go across, but if there’s half a dozen of you I don’t think they would be that kind because it’s just a normal working day and they’ve got to get to work.

“We got into Heath House Lane which is a narrow lane that leads into Codsall. It’s in a very poor state. The footpaths are crumbling. There’s weeds and debris everywhere and it’s just been left to rot.

“It’s like it has not been touched in 10 years and then we carried on the walk.

“Lorries, tractors and HGVs are coming down that road. On the walk we came across two tractors and they had to mount the kerb to get past and we saw it.

“It’s quite interesting to see it in the flesh.

“We stopped at the end of Heath House Lane, just before the bend – about halfway to the school.

“It’s definitely been a success, I would say. It just reinforces the fact of how dangerous it is.”

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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