Free school bus back for East Ruston children

Mary HamiltonParents in East Ruston are celebrating the success of their campaign to bring back the free school bus service.The service was withdrawn after the county council completed a footpath along Brumstead Road, which they claimed made the route safe enough to walk.Mary Hamilton

Parents at East Ruston are celebrating the success of their campaign to bring back a free school bus.

The service was withdrawn after Norfolk County Council completed a footpath along Brumstead Road which, they claimed, made the route safe enough to walk.

It also brought East Ruston homes within three miles of Stalham junior and high schools, meaning village children no longer qualified for free travel.

But villagers campaigned for the route to be reassessed because of a crossing where children had to get over a busy 60mph road with no assistance to reach the new path.

Now, the council has changed its mind, deeming the route too unsafe to use, and has refunded the cost of the passes to those parents who bought them.

Mum Lucy Usher said: 'Common sense prevails. We have got our bus back. We knew it wasn't safe, and this proves it was all worth while standing up for what we believed in.'

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Council spokesman John Birchall said: 'We have reassessed the East Ruston route and agreed that at the moment it is not available for a walk-to-school route because of the volume of traffic along Brumstead Road, the lack of gaps in the traffic and the width of the road that has to be crossed.

'Although the new path is fine and dandy, crossing the road

to get there is still too dangerous.'

He added that the council would reconsider the decision if any more safety work were done.

Villagers, a councillor and an MP are calling for free buses for high school pupils at Horning because of safety concerns about their walking route.

Children travelling to Broadland High School, Hoveton, have been told it is possible for them to

walk to school. But parents insist the hour-long trek is too dangerous.

The walk goes along the A1062 Ludham road using a footpath which, county councillor Paul Rice claims, is overgrown and forces people to walk in the road to avoid standing water and overhanging branches.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has been campaigning with Mr Rice and has called for a face-to-face meeting between the county council and parents.

Council spokesman John Birchall said it had made several assessments of the route and had found that the volume and speed of traffic were acceptable.

'Every road in the country has hazards,' he said. 'This route is not exceptionally hazardous.'