Glenrothes parents’ concerns over recommended walking route to school

It took the group 50 minutes to walk from Stenton to Auchmuty High School.
It took the group 50 minutes to walk from Stenton to Auchmuty High School.

Dozens of parents and children were joined by councillors last week to highlight potential dangers if access to free school buses is withdrawn.

Fife Council is reviewing all bus journeys for children, who live within the two-mile walking limit to school. This could result in free bus travel to school being taken from around 1000 children in the Kingdom. Around 290 of those attend Auchmuty High School.

One of the routes affects children in Stenton, Finglassie, and Lochtyview Way.

Around 119 children would be affected if their free bus access is withdrawn.

The argument Fife Council puts forward for reclassifying the route as safe, is that children attending Pitteuchar East PS walk the route.

It took the group 50 minutes to walk from Stenton to Auchmuty HS, one of the concerns expressed.

Other issues raised about the route were that it passes through woodland, sections of the path are poorly lit, that it passes through an industrial estate, and that it crosses over the bridge linking Stenton and Pitteuchar.

The families were joined by two local councillors, Derek Noble and Altany Craik.

Cllr Noble said two of his grandchildren will be going to Auchmuty HS, and would be on that route.

“Would I let my granchildren walk this route?” Cllr Noble said. “Some parts are OK. Some are definitely not.”

Cllr Craik added: “It is important that we encourage our children to walk to school for a number of reasons but none of these is sufficient to create walking routes that are inappropriate and call them acceptable.

“As a council I think we need to think again on this matter and look to develop the needed policy in a different manner. One thing is for sure, the routes we walked don’t deliver the families in Finglassie and Stenton.”

Shelagh McLean, Head of Education & Children’s Services, confirmed that officers had walked all of the existing routes which currently receive transport because they have been classified as having no available walk route. This was carried out at times when pupils would be walking to or from school.

Using the criteria for assessment, officers assessed a range of criteria along routes including pavements, paths, crossing points and traffic flow.

Ms McLean said: “For Stenton and Finglassie pupils, between Pitteuchar and the school, the assessed route uses a hard surfaced, lit path between Skibo Avenue and Poplar Road.

“A number of hard surfaced, lit routes are then possible via Poplar Road, Boblingen Way underpass, Woodside Road pedestrian crossing, Cos Lane, Laverock Paths, St Paul’s Church zebra crossing and residential streets in Auchmuty.

“These routes are already used by pupils walking from Pitteuchar, Auchmuty and parts of Woodside to Auchmuty High School.

“It is important to stress that, even if the council assesses and defines a particular walk route as being available, it does not mean that pupils must use it.

“Alternative routes may be available using different streets or paths. Parents or carers and pupils are responsible for deciding the most appropriate route for them.”