FURIOUS parents have accused a council of risking their children’s safety after they left a school bus which was held up by Link Road works.
Crowhurst schoolchildren were caught up in the chaos in Forewood Lane last Wednesday afternoon (June 12) as the road closed for a tarmac delivery for the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road work.
The driver of the bus, which was returning children home from Claverham Community College, decided not to risk the safety of his young passengers and refused to drive through a narrow pass between tarmac lorries on the lane, which had been closed to normal traffic.
All the children decided to leave the bus and were found wandering along the roadside.
One parent said: “The bus from Claverham that runs through the village was stopped at the junction of Forewood Lane and Telham Road.
“In the following chaos all the children got off the bus and were wandering about on the road until a worker for National Power began collecting them in a van and driving them (in my daughter’s case sitting on someone else’s lap and without a seat belt) down to where the road was under repair from where they had to walk home.
“I struggle to contain my disdain for those employed by ESCC, unable to ensure that this village can function in the face of their various works.
“The next time my daughter is turfed off her bus ESCC can pay for the taxi home.”
Crowhurst resident Steve Baldry added: “It is incredible that ESCC should have such lack of care with regard to our children.
“All items are within ESCC’s scope to manage.
“It appears that the left hand is unfamiliar with the right.
“If ESCC were a commercial business we would have ceased using them by now!”
A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council said: “We are sorry if children or their parents were upset, but having looked at what happened in this case at no stage were the children in any danger.
“We try to make sure that school buses can still get through when roads are closed and the arrival of this particular bus from Claverham school was expected.
“It was unfortunate that on this occasion the bus arrived at the same time as a delivery of tarmac and that all but one of the children chose to get off the bus when the driver explained to them that there would be a delay.
“Our guidance to all of our bus providers and in this case to Rambler coaches, is to try to prevent children leaving a school bus before their normal stop, but it is difficult for any bus driver to actually stop children getting off.
“On this occasion the person on site and in charge of the road closure sensibly offered to transport the children through the road closure in the contractor’s mini bus in order to get them through the road closure safely.
“The children were transported through the road works in groups and at a safe site speed of 10mph.
“We would ask all parents to explain to their children that they should stay on the bus when things like this happen as this is the safest thing to do.”