Safety fears as school bus is axed

UP to 40 children could be stranded on the school run after a bus service was axed.

The 495 service, which took pupils from Loansdean to Newminster and Chantry Middle Schools, has been withdrawn by operator Astley Coaches.

And families have been given just two weeks’ notice to make alternative arrangements.

Parent Caroline Ash, who has two children at Newminster, said: “We are being told that children can walk because it is a safe route to schools, but it is a long walk, especially for children who have just turned nine years old.

“They would have to cross the road at the Whalton Road and the Sun Inn, or at Mafeking Park roundabout, where there have been umpteen accidents.

“Cars just don’t stop and children are left standing in the middle of the road.

“It is putting parents in an awful position and it will mean lots more traffic on the road into Morpeth if parents are having to take children to school.

“We didn’t know anything about this until a notice went on the county council’s website towards the end of the school holidays.

“The bus service stops on September 14 so we only had two weeks’ warning”

A Northumberland County Council spokeswoman said: “The council is providing a temporary bus contract until September 14 in order to allow parents time to make alternative arrangements.

“We are looking at this situation and will keep the schools and the parents informed.”