Bus decision 'ridiculous'

PUBLISHED: 02:01 30 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:12 10 June 2010

A BUDLEIGH Salterton single mum-of-five faces being charged hundreds of pounds to transport her 13-year-old son to school. Nicky Rose, 34, of Boyne Road, has been refused free council bus travel for her son Peter even though his 11-year-old brother Mark

A BUDLEIGH Salterton single mum-of-five faces being charged hundreds of pounds to transport her 13-year-old son to school.Nicky Rose, 34, of Boyne Road, has been refused free council bus travel for her son Peter - even though his 11-year-old brother Mark will receive a free bus pass when he starts at the same school in September.The county council has refused to fund Peter's travel costs because his mother chose to send her eldest son to Sidmouth College instead of Exmouth Community College - the school the council said he should attend. Mrs Rose's youngest son qualifies for free travel in September after being allocated a place at Sidmouth College because Exmouth Community College was oversubscribed for Year seven.The council said its decision had been made more complicated because the family had recently moved from Newton Poppleford.Mrs Rose said she chose to send her eldest son to Sidmouth College two years ago because he was unhappy at the Exmouth school.Because she does not qualify for the benefits which could entitle her children to free travel, she faces forking out £240 a year to pay for Peter's coach fares to school.Mrs Rose said she and Peter will be forced to follow the school bus by car if the council does not change its mind."It looks like I'll be putting Mark on the bus and following behind with Peter. It's ridiculous," she said.Devon County Council said Mrs Rose was free to appeal against its decision at any time.If the panel still refuses, Mrs Rose would have the opportunity to put her case to the Transport Appeal Panel, which is heard by members.The council said free transport was agreed for youngest son Mark on the basis Sidmouth was the nearest school it could offer."Peter does not qualify for transport as Sidmouth is neither the designated nor nearest school, and was parental preference," a county council spokesman said. "Mrs Rose put her case before an officer appeal panel where she argued why policy should be set aside and transport assistance agreed for Peter. The case was refused.

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