A MUM has spoken of her anger after her son was given a map to help him walk for two hours every day if his bus to school is axed.

Kelly Holland told the Leader her 13-year-old son Jay takes a free school bus from Sandycroft to Hawarden High School.

But she has been informed his eligibility for the service is due to end in the coming months and has been provided with a map recommending a route on foot to school.

The suggested directions, she explained, entails a two-and-a-half mile walk each way which is expected to clock in at almost two hours a day.

Mrs Holland, 32, said: “This year he went up for high school and because John Summers High School had closed, his closest school was Hawarden High.

“They put on this bus which picks up in Sandycroft and Mancot and he’s used that ever since.

“But a letter came out last Friday. They have decided to take it away and give him a map and a booklet on the recommended walking route.

“It is a five-mile round trip. He’s not happy and I am not happy at all.”

The Leader:

She added: “For the new starters at the school, some of them will never even have walked to primary school - never mind two-and-a-half miles.”

A letter to Mrs Holland from Flintshire Council’s streetscene and transportation department explains a review has been undertaken of walking routes for children attending Hawarden High School. Work to remove minor hazards on the route has started, the letter continues, which means the route is now safe and pupils qualifying under the council’s hazardous route criteria - who live within three miles of the school - are no longer eligible for free home to school transport.

The letter adds: “As of September 2019, pupils will be expected to to utilise the improved walking route or make their own alternative transport arrangements to and from school.”

“Flintshire Council has been working closely with Hawarden High School and will continue to do so to ensure these changes come into effect as smoothly as possible.”

According to Mrs Holland, her son is not the only one who will be affected by the change in eligibility for the free service.

She added: “There are plenty of parents who aren’t happy about it. Some of us are speaking to the bus company, P&O Lloyd, to see if we can pay to use it. It’s a safety concern, but also the distance - I’m all for exercise but five miles is not an acceptable distance for children to be walking.

“Especially with the weather we’ve been having lately, they could be caught in anything. They’re going to have to take spare clothes and their books could get ruined. Some parents have been speaking about doing lifts, but there’s so many children I don’t think it is going to work.”

Councillor Carolyn Thomas, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for streetscene and countryside, told the Leader: “In September 2018, a commercial operator stopped the service from Sandycroft to Hawarden High School for commercial reasons.

“The council stepped in and provided a service for 12 months while the route was assessed, as it was found to be hazardous – things needed to be cut back.

“The route has now been assessed and improved so it is no longer hazardous.

“As a result, the council service will stop and we can’t offer free transport to high schools that are under three miles away.”

Cllr Thomas added: “Parents were looking at whether they could pay for the service themselves - as a council we will try to facilitate arrangements between parents and a bus operator.”