February 4, 2022 4.09 pm This story is over 20 months old

Video: Fears for school bus kids taking ‘dangerous journey’ down narrow Lincolnshire village street

The three year fight rumbles on

A frustrated resident fears school buses are taking a dangerous journey down his village High Street on a daily basis, with a recent incident involving two stopping on a blind bend.

Martyn Everett has been campaigning for nearly four years to ban buses from the High Street in Leadenham and force them instead to use the bypass opened in 1995.

He’s contacted bus companies Stagecoach and Black Cat Travel, Sir William Roberston Academy (SWRA) and Lincolnshire County Council.

And despite rejection from the Local Government Ombudsman and the council, as well as legal action threats from the school, he’s not backing down.

High Street Leadenham is subject to a weight restriction order, which does not apply to buses, and Mr Everett says it is ignored by HGVs.

He said the route is narrow and dangerous with previous incidents on the road including two school buses becoming jammed against one another at a narrow section, blocking emergency exits in the process, and some being forced to take to the pavement to avoid each other.

He also fears reports of buses catching on fire elsewhere in the country could be repeated here, putting young children at risk with emergency exits blocked.

Mr Everett told Local Democracy Reporters: “In an area with a higher than average fatal accident rate, statistically we are due another one anytime.”

Video footage provided by Mr Everitt shows a number of incidents including buses from companies such as Stagecoach and Black Cat Travel. The latest incident on Tuesday saw two buses stopped at the junction between Newark Road and the High Street – which he said was a blind bend – where pupils appear to transfer from one bus to another.

He said the route was against the wishes of residents and Leadenham Parish Council,

Mr Everett has found previous attempts to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, the school, county council – and even the Prime Minister – have fallen on deaf ears.

His persistence in the matter over the past three years, however, has resulted in a letter from Langleys Solicitors, warning him that if he continues to do so SWRA would “consider [his] conduct to amount to harassment” and that it would take action against him.

The letter also indicates the school and Stagecoach believe the use of the main road would “increase risk to the school buses, the children who use those buses and third parties”.

They say Leadenham High Street “maximises safety” despite it being narrow.

“Stagecoach employ drivers who are extensively trained, and the academy has every confidence in those drivers and also in the decision of Stagecoach as to which routes to take in order to maximise safety,” the letter said.

A spokesman for Stagecoach said the buses in the video were not theirs. However, they said the issue “has been addressed numerous times in the past”.

The spokesman said: “We can confirm that the clip sent through is from an incident over a year ago, and the recent videos are not of Stagecoach buses.

“The road in Leadenham is a registered route which has been assessed by the local councils and relevant authorities and deemed acceptable for use.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners to monitor the route on a regular basis and take onboard the views of our customers.”

Following publication of this story, a spokesman for the school responded. Sancha Maggs, trust business manager and chief financial officer at Aspire Schools Trust, on behalf or SWRA, said: “The school is actively working with local stakeholders and the community on road safety matters.

“We are aware of Mr Everett’s concerns and continue to work with the transport providers and local authority regarding these.”

Lincolnshire County Council has been contacted for a comment.

Black Cat Buses, which are also featured in the video, had not responded to reporters at the time of publication.