|Argyll & Bute Council's have come up with a new way to save a bit of money. They've decided that children under 8 years of age should be able to walk up to 2 miles to and from school, come rain or shine, summer or winter. Children over 8 years old are expected to walk up to 3 miles each way. As a consequence of this they've decided they no longer need to provide school transport for these children from August 2006.
For the most part these changes will affect children living at the western end of the village, in the area from the Wee Church to Dippen Farm. The road between here and the Primary School has no pavement and is very poorly lit. Throw the Kintyre weather into this scenario and expecting young children to walk safely along it just isn't the thinking of a sane man.
Of course the Council don't really expect us to walk our children to and from school. What they expect us to do is use our private cars, and can you imagine the traffic chaos that will cause?
The Council explain their decision in a report entitled 'Council Policy on the Provision of School Transport' and a paragraph on page 4 reads that the Council will provide transport where the child has to walk a route which is considered by the council to be unsafe.
In another document the council assesses an unsafe walking route as being one that has no footway or pavement and has insufficient step-offs or adequate sight-lines. I think it is pretty plain that the route the children would have to walk would be classed as unsafe and so it is important that the Council are made to agree this as early as possible, in order to avoid any disruption in our children's school transport.
How much money will the Council save by doing this? Their own estimate is £30,000 per year, but say this cannot be guaranteed due to the costs of the numerous appeals that are expected on grounds of lack of a safe walking route. If this is the case then why bother in the first place?
The person directly responsible for having this route declared an Unsafe Walking Route is Donnie McLeod, the Council's Manager of Roads and Amenities. His email address is listed below and he can be contacted on the main Council telephone number.
Have Your Say: You can email numerous Council officials, telephone or write them a letter.
Rory Colville, Local Councillor, Argyll & Bute Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
Douglas Hendry, Director of Community Services, Argyll & bute Council: email@example.com
Donnie McLeod, Roads and Amenities Manager, Argyll & Bute Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
Argyll and Bute Council, Kilmory, Lochgilphead, Argyll, PA31 8RT. Telephone: 01546 602127
And don't forget our very own East Kintyre Community Council. The next meeting is this Thursday, 1 June 2006 at 7pm in the village hall.