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Community Council Hold Protest
Parents and pupils from Halfway held a protest march along part of the proposed walking route to secondary schools if changes to school bus provision go ahead.
Around 140 residents turned out for the event, with many calling on South Lanarkshire Council to scrap plans to change the criteria for free travel from those living more than two miles away to three miles.
The event was also attended by Margaret Ferrier MP, James Kelly MSP, and councillors Christine Deanie and Walter Brogan.
Starting at the Tesco store in Drumsagard, the group headed along Hamilton Road, up Howieshill Road and Vicarland Road, across Greenlees Road and along Brownside Road.
They then headed down Douglas Drive and ended up at the council office in Cambuslang Gate.
John Edgar, chair of Halfway community Council, said parts of the route had been littered with glass, and said parked cars had forced them onto the roads on Howieshill and Vicarland.
Others complained about the volume of traffic on Greenlees Road, the blind corner at the junction of Howieshill Road and Hamilton Road, and road signs being obscured by trees along the route.
Mr Edgar said: “There are a lot of obstacles along the way, and we didn’t even walk the full routes. We don’t class this as a safe route, it’s very dangerous when you consider everything that we have seen.”
Parents were also unhappy. Jackie Rinn, who is a member of the community council, has consistently said she won’t send her daughter, to Stonelaw if the council don’t provide transport. Jackie, who stays on Mill Road, said: “The route is atrocious, it’s far too long and dangerous. My opinion is the same, I won’t allow my child to walk that route.”
Jackie is also unhappy no decision will be taken until an executive committee in August, and questioned why parents hadn’t received any advice on bus protocol before the end of the school year.
She said: “My daughter finishes tomorrow and I’ve had no notification on how we go about getting the bus. I have no idea what to do to get my child to school.
“We were told we’d find out in July what was happening, but now they’re saying it will be an executive committee on August 26. Transport will continue until September 25. Ashley will go to school until then and that’ it, and I think that’s the case with many parents.”
The community council has already handed over a petition signed by 4000 people against the proposal.
Lynn Sherry, Head of Education, South Lanarkshire Council said: “A statutory consultation took place over the period March 16, 2015 to May 13, 2015 during which time consultees were invited to make their views known. Following this period Education Scotland (HMIE) also considered the proposal and has recently made their report available to the Council.
“A Consultation Report is currently being finalised which takes account of the responses that have been received. This final report will be completed and made available through the Council’s website on July 10, 2015. Notification of how to access the report will be published in local newspapers on 8/9 July 2015.
“Following the publication of the Consultation Report, it will be considered at the Executive Committee of the Council on August, 26 2015.
“Transport will continue as usual until a decision is taken by the Council . If the decision is taken to implement the proposal, parents will be informed of the new arrangements for transport, including the specific date on which the proposal will be implemented.”
Parents can continue to complete the transport application form on the SLC website. They will then receive a letter of acknowledgement and further instructions if they have been successful in their application. There is no cut off point for this.