PARENTS, grandparents and councillors have hit out at plans to cut free school transport provisions.
The proposals, which are out for public consultation as part of Torfaen’s School and College Transport Review, could see children as young as four having to walk two miles to school each way, in all weathers.
Mum Nikki Hilton, whose four-year-old son attends Blaenavon Heritage Voluntary Controlled Primary School, said it could also see grandparents walking up to eight miles a day, to and from school each morning and afternoon, along with their pre-school children.
“The terrain will make it so much harder,” she said. “There are steep steps because of the mountains, and people will have pushchairs too. It will be a nightmare.
“There are no lights on the mountain from Forgeside, so it will be dark in the winter, and there is no footpath from the school.”
Grandparent Gary Hathaway said: “When they clo-sed Forgeside School all those years ago they said there would be transport to school as one of the conditions of closure. Now they are trying to renege on that.
“If these kids have to walk to school while they waste money elsewhere there will be World War Three.”
Torfaen council is considering changing its mileage criteria from September 2015 to two miles for primary aged children, from the current 1.5 miles, and three miles for secondary aged children or above, from two miles.
The proposed changes are part of measures to fund the ambitious 21st Century Schools programme developed in 2011.
Blaenavon councillors are also concerned for those walking from Forgeside to Blaenavon Heritage Primary.
Cllr Stuart Evans said: “The children will have to navigate a busy highway. Add to that the prospect of sitting in wet clothes all day after a long walk and it’s a pretty miserable outlook.”
Discussing the review, Pontypool Community Council agreed to write a “strongly worded” letter to the local authority.
Pontnewynydd councillor Elaine Chilcott was among those who spoke out strongly in objection, as did Trevethin councillor Janet Jones, who called it “disgusting”.
The survey ends on Monday, April 14. Go to http://bit.ly/1i7FUeh or call Mark Horton on 01495 766910 for a printed copy.