School bus protesters urged to give views to county consultation not just social media

Lakenheath is halfway between two schools

People worried about changes to Suffolk’s school transport are being urged to take part in the consultation instead of just signing petitions or posting on social media.

Suffolk County Council launched a consultation in December and people have until February 28 to take part, but there are fears some are commenting elsewhere instead of putting their point of view on the consultation site.

A county council spokesman said they want to hear of issues like those raised by Lakenheath mother of three Lana Buckles who pointed out the anomaly created in villages on the border between two schools.

Before schools changed from three-tier to two children from Lakenheath and Brandon went to Mildehall College Academy, but then the middle school became the IES Brandon free school.

Mrs Buckles explained: “A lot of people didn’t want their children to go to a free school and we were given the choice of Brandon or Mildenhall.

“From 2019 Suffolk wants to only give you free transport to the nearest school. We’re right in the middle of the two – for most families here there’s only about half a mile difference. If there is any saving to be made, is it worth disrupting children’s education for?”

“It needs some common sense in regards to locations and feasibility. We can’t be the only place where this is going to happen.”

She also felt a public meeting on Tuesday at Lakenheath Pavilion on the changes had not been publicised well enough which meant some had not been able to book in in time to speak to anyone from the council.

A county council spokesman said: “We’re aware there are going to be those unique points on the map where this happens and the team has been having discussions where there are things like that that need to be taken into consideration.

“That’s why we’re urging people to fill in the consultation – we need to hear from the people affected.”

An online petition calling on the council to drop the changes has more than 5,000 signatures, which means the person who started it will be invited to talk to council representatives and will get five minutes to put their case at a meeting on changes.

But a county council spokesman added: “I would urge anyone that has signed the petition to also have their say through the consultation process, full details are available at www.suffolk.gov.uk/schooltravel

The petition is at www.change.org

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