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U-turn on bus service.

Byline: Michelle Ruane

Safety fears about a school route have prompted a free bus service U-turn.

The Gazette told on Tuesday how parents of some pupils at Brotton's Freebrough Specialist Engineering College were angry their children would not qualify for free transport from January.

Concerns were raised as children travelling from Carlin How would have to cross the busy A174. And walking from Skinningrove would involve a route along a badly-lit road.

But Redcar and Cleveland Council has now reassessed the walk to school for some children, meaning pupils from Carlin How and Skinningrove will get transport.

A three-mile limit was initially proposed, causing outrage among parents.

Councillor Steve Kay, cabinet member for education, said: "We are now in a position to inform parents we can offer free home-to-school transport for more children going to Freebrough."

Cllr Kay added: "I have had representations from Brotton ward councillors Val Miller and Kay Walker and Loftus ward councillor Dave Fitzpatrick, who all asked for the walking route to be reviewed on safety grounds.

"Following our reassessment we can make home-to-school transport available to the children concerned."

He added: "We are now in the process of writing to parents to explain the decision and hope that pupils can all look forward to the excitement of attending the new school in a few weeks."

Reacting to the move, Brotton ward councillor Brian Hogg, who called the original decision "scandalous," said of the rethink: "I'm delighted. It's great that pressure from the parents and chair of governors has made the Coalition see sense. It was a ridiculous decision in the first place."

Geoff Brundle, of Skinningrove, whose grandaughter Ebony, 13, attends the college, was among the first to oppose the original decision.

He said of the U-turn: "It's brilliant news, but it's only right.

"As soon as I got the original letter, I went to our MP, Ashok Kumar, and the Gazette.

"The council has come to its senses over this and I'm very pleased."
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 25, 2006
Words:330
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