to be furious with the council re school run....need support!

(37 Posts)
5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 20:58:46

Basically, I along with many others use a 'cut through' to get my children to school, this cut through has been used for over 30yrs.

It is through a gate that takes us down the side of a golf club car park. There has been an arrangement with the high school and the primary school and the council that parents and pupils can use this gate to get to either school.

It is basically a safe walking route, over a field and avoiding a busy A road and several other busy roads. It also makes the walk a reasonable distance ie a half hour walk, rather than a 50min walk if we can't use the cut through.

It came to our attention before Christmas that there were rumours it was going to be closed. We tried to email/phone/speak to the council and the golf club but got no reply.

The rumours were quickly revealed to be true when we got told the gate is closing as of Feb half term.

Agfain we tried to contact the parties involved to not avail.

So a few of us got together and decided to do a petition, contact local MPs, councilors etc, basically to shout loudly!

We even asked a question at local city cabinet meeting and with over 600signatures on our petition and over 500 likes on our fb we were getting heard, local papers and radio asked to speak to us and low and behold the council and the golf club have agreed to meet BUT they have arranged the meeting without trying to ask us what would be doable and have arranged it for school run time!!!! And having agreed a venue, they today changed the venue if the meeting to one awkward to get to and with parking issues and meaning we need childcare for a longer period of time.

Again they have not responded to calls or emails so we could talk about this.

Its bloody infuriating! They have realized local opinion is such that they have to at least look like they are listening but the reality is that it seems like a facade, just making minimal effort and they aren't going to do anything.

The reality is there is lots going on behind closed door, including issues over land ownership and liability and we as parents and our children are the victims!!

https://www.facebook.com/soschoolrun

So aibu to be furious, my children and 150 others will end up with a long and dangerous walk to school. Yet the council actually dont give a shit,

On our fb page there is a map showing the current walk and the route the council wants us to take instead. There is also an repetition if you want to help us shout loudly, or just like the fb page.

The whole situation is crazy, parking and congestion is already terrible around both schools, closing this safe walking route is going to make the situation worse!

The irony is they are saying they are closing the gatedue to safety issues as cut down the side of a car park... The alternative route has no pavement for part of it, a blind corner, takes up a rat run road and then along a very busy a road where the pavement is a cycle path!!!

This situation could be resolved, speed bumps before the golf club car park, hatched pavement, small fenced off pavement or just a sign telling drivers to slow down if they think its dangerous but thats not the real issue its all internal politics, land ownership and money

We even offered a walking school bus and parent patrols etc.

I have used this gate every school run for the last eight years, its perfectly safe!!

Sorry that was long but I have spent the last few weeks on phones, email, fb, talking to press and councilors and I am beyond pissed off with how difficult the council are being, seriously how hard is it to answer the phone or reply to an email?!!

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 20:59:02
maparole Wed 22-Jan-14 21:07:39

Have you talked to a specialist in land law at all?

atomicyoghurt Wed 22-Jan-14 21:08:27

YANBU.

But I would say that wouldn't I??

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 21:09:52

As access only during term time and as there has been a written agreement we can't try and say its a public right of way...

The land issues are complicated re high school and the golf club...

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 21:24:48

But basically the golf club are happy for a path to be through the car park if council will have liability for it and do upkeep etc, council don't want to spend the money...golf club are offering to give them land but in nexchange they want some land off the council..,but its all been talked about behind closed doors...

The local community is really pissed off.

WooWooOwl Wed 22-Jan-14 21:28:42

Sounds like a nightmare, but at least it seems the golf club are willing to do what they can.

Is it that the golf club doesn't want to be liable if someone has an accident there?

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 21:32:03

Yes its partly liability, which we completely understand.

WooWooOwl Wed 22-Jan-14 21:35:35

Can you do a direct link to the epetition please?

I'll sign. Must be incredibly frustrating for you.

Nerfmother Wed 22-Jan-14 21:37:57

Is it over two miles for the walk without the gate? Would the council have to provide transport? Is that an angle?

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 21:39:24
5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 21:41:17

I am not sure Nerf possibly but technically there are other schools, this is the one we got places at.

I dont want them going by bus/taxi, we have a really nice walk over a field, the longer route is horrible and dangerous. It adds over a km to our journey.

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 22-Jan-14 21:48:18

From this article If the public use a path for 20 years without interruption or challenge a right of way is presumed to have been dedicated

Are there any signs up saying that the path through the golf course is not a dedicated right of way or do they close it and stop access at certain times of the year?

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 21:54:58

Its shut during school holidays, there did used to be a sign saying it was a public footpath/route but that miraculously disappeared the day its closure was announced....

Its known by everyone and has been used as a school run routevans by dog walkers for years.

honestpointofview Wed 22-Jan-14 22:05:29

Good Evening 5mad.

I think YABU, well a little and for understandable reasons.

Looking at your FB page and the links on it the issue was not caused by the CC and they are working to solve it. As a lawyer it does not look straightforward (as you also say) and in fact is complicated with land issues and indemnities. Hence why I think you are being just a little unreasonable in saying you are furious with the Council.

I think your FB page sets the right tone and my only suggestion is you stick to that tack. Usually to get parties to do something they probably do not have to do playing nice, albeit firm, usually works better than berating people. The FB gets that spot on.

Good Luck!

Nerfmother Wed 22-Jan-14 22:07:31

Yes good luck, it is really worrying.

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 22:09:42

Thats what we are doing, sticking to that tone.

I am using mnet to rant as the council are being so bloody difficult to talk to and the guy at the council who is meant to be helping is a member of the golf club and has been in cahoots with the manager of the golf club.

As I said lots being done behind closed doors and they are giving us the run around.

Why arrange a meeting with parents at school run time over the other side of the city.,.either they are just stupid or they just haven't thought.

The cpuncillor has been seen by me and other parents with golf club manager...lots of long meetings..

Why not return phone calls, answer emails?!

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 22:18:36

To clarify I am annoyed at the council as they are the ones organizing the meeting, they said they would do it, won't let us be directly involved in organizing it and are not returning calls and emails and now have arranged it at a time and location that is completely crap for us and given us less than 48hrs notice!!

honestpointofview Wed 22-Jan-14 22:21:35

Perfect 5mad, hopefully it will work out.

I know your are annoyed but if possible to try and avoid comments like the guy council is in cahoots with the club as he is a member. I am not sure how he would benefit and in the absence of proof it will only make relationships harder at the very least.

Re calls and emails agree should be returned but just remember if you are having meetings then probably people are dealing with it. Complicated issues can not just be dealt with overnight and people working on it will have other issues as part of their job as well. So whilst i really understand why it is important and the main thing to do maybe just leave it for a few days, let them work on a solution and then give a call say Tuesday next week. If this helps look at this way; all the time they spend returning all your calls, emails, responding to press questions, Councillors questions, etc means they have less time to deal with the actual issue.

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 22:26:35

I can't leave it till next week, they have arranged a meeting that we are supposed to attend but they have arranged it for school run time! Its great they have arranged it but to change the location two days before the meeting to across the city when several of us have babies/toddlers needing looked after and older kids to puck up from school makes it impossible!

We have also requested travel plans from schools, one has been fine, the other is being obstructive about giving it when it should be publically available on the website.

And when the councilor just says he is arranging it and clearly is speaking to the golf club but won't tell us until the last minute the venue and time of a meeting they want us to attend how am I not supposed to be annoyed.

5madthings Wed 22-Jan-14 22:27:37

We want to speak to them about the meeting, to try and get it moved an hour earlier..but they won't respond to calls.

honestpointofview Wed 22-Jan-14 22:38:10

I see what you mean about the meeting. If you can go, go. If not though I really would not worry. I can see you now reading this thinking is this man mad!! The answer is as you say things will happen behind closed doors. If they have asked the lawyers to look at the land issues and the indemnity around injuries then nothing you say at the meeting will make a difference. Either the lawyer for club and the lawyer for the CC can come to a legal solution that they are both happy to recommend to their clients or not.

All you need to do is make sure that the CC are clear that local's want it to happen which will encourage them to look for a solution and maybe take some risk. You are have already done that very well.

Does that make sense?

heartonsleeve Wed 22-Jan-14 22:38:40

You need to speak to the Open Spaces Society. oss.org.uk Kate Ashbrook is the Boss and very knowledgeable on ROW issues. They will just ask you to join for a small fee as they are a charity. Tell them Ruth the old Office Manager put you in contact. Kate's email is hq@ web address above. Good luck.

5mad, this is a bit left-field, but another angle to try - have you measured the distance of the new route? You said 50 minutes which would suggest over 2 miles

From Norfolk CC website - "children under 8 living more than 2 miles from school, measured by the nearest available walking route" will be allocated school transport

If your safe route is being closed for one without pavements then the cost of transport may be so onerous for the Council that they may put some pressure on re-instating the access.

http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/Travel_and_transport/Travelling_to_school_or_college/School_transport/Eligibility_for_free_transport/index.htm

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