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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Barrow coach firm faces inquiry on safety

A COACH company will face a public inquiry into maintenance standards.

Clarkson Coachways, which is based at Barrow’s Walney Road Industrial Estate, will appear before north west traffic commissioner Beverley Bell next Wednesday.

It is understood the hearing in Golborne, near Warrington, will consider maintenance issues.

Traffic commissioners are independent regulators with the power to revoke or limit an operator’s licence.

Clarkson Coachways will have the chance to give evidence at the inquiry, but director Neil Clarkson would not confirm if he would attend, and declined to make any comment when contacted by the Evening Mail.

In 2007, the company was forced to reduce its fleet from 12 to eight after Mrs Bell found four of its vehicles were inadequately maintained.

This followed a traffic commissioner inquiry following a crash in 2006 on the M6 ,when one of its coaches overturned, injuring pupils and staff from Walney School.

Three teachers and 23 pupils were on the bus, with one staff member and one student requiring surgery.

In that case, the coach involved in the motorway smash was not found to be defective, but an inspection uncovered problems with other coaches owned by the company.

Issues raised at the hearing included inadequate defect detection systems on the vehicles, inadequate reports and shortcomings regarding maintenance.

One of the vehicles was found to have a missing brake pad.

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