Chirk councillors challenge end of free school transport

Reporter:

Matt Sims

A LAST ditch bid by councillors in Chirk to challenge the decision to end free out-of-county school transport has failed.

Cllrs Ian Roberts and Terry Evans had called for a immediate review of a decision to press ahead with the new policy, approved by Wrexham Council’s executive board last week.

They claimed a second equalities impact assessment should have been carried out after a public consultation exercise into the proposals, which will mean youngsters in Chirk will no longer get free buses to Ysgol Dinas Bran, Llangollen.

However, councillors on the local authority’s environment and regeneration scrutiny committee yesterday unanimously voted to back the decision to continue with the new policy.

Cllr Roberts said: “We had a consultation exercise and around 180 responses. I was amazed the responses were not taken seriously.

“There was a recommendation an impact assessment should be done after the consultation results. We haven’t done it and this leaves us open.”

John Davies, chief learning and achievement officer, said a second assessment needed to be carried out only if the responses in the consultation raised new issues which had not already been considered and said this was not the case.

He was backed by executive board members, including council leader Aled Roberts, deputy leader Bob Dutton and lead member for transport, David Bithell.

Cllr Bithell said: “Obviously this is a democratic right to call in this process to challenge the executive board. I’m still of the view the decision we have reached is the right one. This policy is fair and has to be consistent to everybody across the county borough.”

Cllr Dutton added: “Suggesting the decision taken by the executive board is unsafe is completely unacceptable.”

The policy, due to be introduced in 2012, will end free out-of-county school transport for youngsters in Wrexham. Llangollen is in Denbighshire.

See full story in the Leader

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