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National support for Suffolk school transport mum fighting council over path

PUBLISHED: 07:30 11 September 2019

James Moore on the path that is preventing him from receiving free school transport Picture: AMANDA MOORE

James Moore on the path that is preventing him from receiving free school transport Picture: AMANDA MOORE

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A Suffolk mum who is fighting Suffolk County Council's decision to deny her son free school transport for the sake of an eight metre path has received support from campaigns around the country.

One of the maps currently being consulted by residents dates back to 1882 Picture: AMANDA MOOREOne of the maps currently being consulted by residents dates back to 1882 Picture: AMANDA MOORE

Amanda Moore, from Tattingstone, is currently trying to secure transport to Holbrook Academy for her 11-year-old son James.

Suffolk County Council (SCC) have said it will only offer free transport to East Bergholt High School as it is marginally closer according to its own measurements which exclude an eight metre long footpath which the council reclassified this summer as no longer being a right of way.

However, Mrs Moore is continuing to fight the change to the former bridleway and has now picked up support from across the country.

"It's just run on Facebook," said Mrs Moore.

"This guy in the North of England got in touch, he researches old maps and lost Public Rights of Way as a hobby.

"He doesn't understand it. He's looked into the path and the definitive statement (which is used to create the council's maps) clearly states that the path is a Public Right of Way."

He isn't the only one backing Mrs Moore, the UK Rights of Way campaign, which aims to find lost footpaths in the UK before 2026, is also contacting the council on her behalf.

Back in Tattingstone residents are also angry about the decision with many now scouring through old maps in an effort to help.

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"They are up in arms," said Mrs Moore.

"We lost a lot of footpaths in the 70s when the village was flooded for Alton Water. This was one of the paths that was left."

Among those supporting Mrs Moore is fellow Tattingstone resident Anne Allen, who is also perplexed by the council's response.

"My dad who is 91 walked and cycled to school via that route," said Ms Allen.

Mrs Moore said the support she had received was bittersweet.

"It's lovely in a way it shows the power of people. I just think we will get there," said Mrs Moore.

"I don't want to argue with the council, as it's exhausting.

"I'm liaising the SCC Public Rights of Way team and will pass over the evidence that the Tattingstone residents have given me, which I'm hoping will prove that the path has existed for decades and is still in use today".

A SCC spokesman said: "Suffolk County Council measures all routes consistently in line with the DfE Guidance and the SCC policy. Where a section of route is not on the definitive map we are not able to include this in our distance measurement. In this case this section on route is not on the map.

"If parents have applied for school travel and it has been refused, they have the right to appeal. Information on how to appeal can be found on www.suffolkonboard.com/appeals."

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