Suffolk

Walk to school to Haverhill from Kedington 'ludicrous'

Part of the route Image copyright Lucille Whiting
Image caption Parent Lucille Whiting said part the proposed route "turns into a quagmire the second it rains"

Parents have called on a council to carry out a risk assessment after it was proposed for their children to walk miles across fields to school.

Suffolk County Council has said pupils who live at Kedington, Suffolk, will no longer be entitled to free transport to Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill.

Parents said the proposed two-and-a-half mile walking route was "unsafe" and "ludicrous".

The council said it would assess the route in line with safety guidelines.

Image caption Kedington is about two and a half miles from Haverhill in the south west corner of Suffolk

Suffolk County Council has revised its free transport arrangements.

It said children in Kedington lived less than three miles away from the school and therefore those starting in September would not be able to use a free bus.

The route it has suggested takes in public footpaths and rights of way.

Image copyright Lucille Whiting
Image caption The route suggested by the council takes in public footpaths

Lucille Whiting said there was a group of parents who thought the proposed route was "unsafe and ludicrous" and they had asked for a thorough risk assessment of it in varying conditions.

She said it was "just a muddy track... impossible to walk in the winter".

"You're knee deep in mud, it turns into a quagmire the second it rains," she said.

"You're a good 20 minutes from help at any point if you fall or injure yourself."

Image copyright Lucille Whiting
Image caption Mrs Whiting said the route was "unsafe" and cited broken boardwalks on footpaths as an example

Mrs Whiting, whose daughter is due to start at Samuel Ward next year, said: "I can't see any parent at the primary school who is going to be prepared to allow their children to leave the house when it's dark in the winter to walk 90 minutes across a farm track just to get to their catchment school."

The council said the route would be assessed and if the footpath was not suitable, council-funded school travel would be arranged for eligible pupils.

Otherwise, the route will be further considered by the council's education transport appeals committee in December.

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