'I cried when I got the email' - Mum wins school transport fight for James, 11
PUBLISHED: 19:30 12 September 2019
A Suffolk mum has won her battle to get free school transport for her 11-year-old son.
Amanda Moore, from Tattingstone, has been battling with Suffolk County Council (SCC) to get a bus pass for her son James, a pupil at Holbrook Academy.
SCC had told Mrs Moore that her son's nearest school was deemed to be East Bergholt High School according to the council's measurements - which exclude an eight metre long footpath the council reclassified this summer as no longer being a right of way.
Villagers in Tattingstone were up in arms over the council's response, claiming that many of them had used the footpath for decades. They started to pull out old maps to try and prove their case.
Thanks to help from both within the village and as far away as northern England, Mrs Moore's son will be able to get on the bus and join his friends.
"When I got the email I cried," said Mrs Moore, "My head is a bit awash with everything."
The change in decision came down to a document known as a definitive statement, which is used to help the council draw up its maps.
SCC's maps did not have the footpath listed as a public right of way.
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According to a map enthusiast who contacted Mrs Moore, even if the map did not contain the path, the statement did.
"This man contacted me from the north of England and said that the council have got it wrong," said Mrs Moore.
"He said that the definitive statement said the council was wrong and that it must have been a clerical error."
Mrs Moore got back in touch with the council over her concerns. The public rights of way team who had been looking at her case then carried out further investigations, which confirmed she was correct.
James has now been issued a temporary bus pass while his full pass is completed.
"The experience has been really, personally difficult," said Mrs Moore.
"The whole policy is a farce."
Mrs Moore said she felt sympathy for the families still having to sort out their transport issues but also felt for the council workers who were having to sort out the issues.
In order to prevent any further problems when she applies for her son's pass next year, Mrs Moore said she would be sending the council the evidence collected by villagers to prove that the path was indeed a public right of way.
Suffolk County Council did not wish to comment further on the case.