The documents, seen by the EADT, show that of the 3600 responses to Suffolk County Council’s home-to-school transport consultation, 85% “strongly oppose” the proposals and a further 5% “oppose” them.
In response to these revelations, Green Councillor Robert Lindsay commented:
“Gordon Jones, has told the council many, many times that he was conducting a consultation and would listen to the public. The public have now given a resounding ‘no’.
So I hope he will now listen. To ignore the result of the consultation would be an insult to the 3,600 people who took the trouble to fill out the survey.”
Alternative proposals have been received by the Council, but these have not been properly investigated or considered. Councillor Lindsay commented:
“The council say the move is designed to save money but they have done no proper research into whether it actually will. In fact, there is a strong chance they will end up having to spend more because they are likely to have to send separate buses to the same village.
Thurston Community College has developed an alternative proposal which shows they can save £230,000 a year, without disrupting or removing school transport for any of their pupils. This is potentially more savings in one single catchment area than the county’s plan will realise across the whole of Suffolk.
This seems to have been entirely ignored by the Council.”
The Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group at Suffolk County Council have opposed the proposed cuts since they were first announced in September 2017. The Group raised concerns over a lack of adequate financial information and impact assessments, and successfully delayed the consultation to encourage Suffolk County Council to undertake more rigorous assessments.
However, the Conservative Cabinet decided in December 2017 to once again begin a consultation on proposals which could see 3700 children lose their free school transport. The results of the consultation are due to be discussed by the Cabinet next month.