A POWICK couple have been told their 11-year-old son is not eligible for a free bus pass – because they live 300 yards inside the three mile limit.

Michael Soley started at Christopher Whitehead Language College at St John’s, Worcester, this term, but his family has recently moved to Powick, half-way between Malvern and Worcester.

They were shocked to be told that Michael would not be given a bus pass, leaving them with the alternatives of letting him walk to and from school along the main road or giving him lifts.

Dad Christopher Soley said: “It’s totally unsuitable for an 11-year-old to walk along that road, particularly at this time of year when it gets dark so early.

“He would have to cross the southern link road during the rush-hour in the morning and the evening.”

Michael’s grandfather, also Michael Soley, a member of Malvern Hills District Council, walked the route with a county council officer and used a measuring device which confirmed that the route was 300 yards short of the three-mile limit.

Mum Kelly Soley said: “It would take him an hour to walk, and there are regular buses along the main road, with a stop just a few minutes away from our house.

“But instead I have to take him to school before going to work in Tewkesbury. It seems silly that he can’t have a bus pass just for the sake of 300 yards.”

Worcestershire County Councillor Jane Potter said: “The route is about 300 yards inside the three-mile minimum distance required to qualify for a free bus pass.

“There is also footpath all the way, so the walking route is not unsafe. While we are not insisting that Michael must walk to school, the distance is walkable so he does not qualify for a free bus pass. An appeals process is available.”

A council spokesman said that the family lived in the catchment area for Dyson Perrins CE Academy in Malvern, and Michael would be eligible for a pass if he was attending that school.