A new generation of children could face a fight to keep their schools buses as a council review could lead to the removal of the free service.

Almost 300 high school pupils in Macclesfield enjoy free transport to and from high school as part of Cheshire East Council’s obligation to provide safe routes to schools.

But a council review of walking routes, due to go before Cabinet on Tuesday, June 14, says some of the routes - including one which covers part of Middlewood Way - should now be declared safe for pupils, and could lead to the bus’ removal by April 2017.

Similar reviews in 1993 and 2013 were abandoned following huge public outrage over the safety of the Middlewood Way, which is used by pupils travelling from Bollington to Tytherington, with parents and teachers claiming the dark path was too dangerous for students, particularly during winter.

Manny Botwe, head teacher at Tytherington School, said he is ‘very concerned’ over the reclassification of the route.

He said: “We are very concerned to hear about these proposals and we have already, and will continue, to raise our concerns with the council. We will do everything in our power to prevent the loss of the free buses and ensure our students are able to come to the school safely.”

Bollington councillor Amanda Stott said: "The proposed ‘safe walking route’ which Cheshire East are offering as an alternative to bus transport, is along the Middlewood Way. The same route that was deemed unsuitable in 2013, by the then-leader of the Council, Michael Jones. He pointed out that the route would need in the region of £375,000 to bring it up to an acceptable standard. This money has not been invested so it is hard to see why the standards have now been lowered to allow this change of policy."

She added: "‘I may be criticised for using scare tactics – but in my mind this is a very scary situation – and it is wrong to put the children’s personal safety before, given the council’s overall budget, a very meagre saving."

A total of five walking routes to schools could be reclassified as safe under the review, including parts of the Middlewood Way that lead to Poynton High School.

The Cabinet will also be asked to agree to use £150,000 from the government’s Local Transport Plan Fund to improve routes, which would include a controlled crossing on Prestbury Road for students walking to Fallibroome Academy, where 97 students currently enjoy free transport due to safety concerns.

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A spokesman for the council said the routes have been reclassified to help tackle pupil obesity and could save £495,000 by 2019. Councillor George Hayes, deputy portfolio holder for children and families said: “This decision is about fairly applying an existing policy, now that these walking routes have been made available for safe use. There are also clear health benefits from getting more of our young people to take regular daily exercise by walking.”

A minimum 12 week consultation will follow the decision on Tuesday.

High school students who live more than three miles from their school, and primary school students who live more than two miles from their school, will be unaffected.

Coun Stott is urging parents to voice their concerns, by either attending the meeting, or emailing Amanda.Stott@CheshireEast.Gov.Uk.