Lincolnshire County Council’s plans for student transport may change after protest

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Controversial plans to increase transport costs for further education students may be changed after a storm of protest.

Lincolnshire County Council had planned to nearly double the cost of transport for further education students in September, from £202 per year to £390.

And new rules on eligibility for the post-16 service, which currently takes about 500 students to and from colleges in South Kesteven alone, would have restricted young people to attending the college nearest their home.

This would have been the case whether the course they wanted to do was available there or not.

But an online council survey of 2,568 people found that less than eight per cent of respondents agreed with the proposals.

As a result, councillors recommended on Friday that the proposals be changed to soften their impact.

A council spokesman said: “The children and young people scrutiny committee has recommended that in line with the online consultation, the increase in the subsidy should be introduced over a sliding period of four years.

“Councillors also think the proposals should permit flexibility so that if the most appropriate course for a young person is not available at the nearest college, transport to the college offering the appropriate course would be provided.

“Officers should have delegated authority to decide on what would be considered to be an appropriate course.”

The committee’s recommendations will be considered by the council’s executive committee on May 3.

New College Stamford principal Andrew Patience had raised concerns about the proposals.

He said: “It’s clear from the amount of responses to the online questionnaire that the opposition to the plans is strong and you would hope in a democratic system that the council takes some notice.”

All the further education colleges in Lincolnshire, including New College Stamford, had objected to the plans.