Thursday, 17 August 2017

Parents forced to accept defeat over road crossing

PARENTS trying to revive a campaign for a pedestrian crossing on a busy Henley road have been rebuffed.

PARENTS trying to revive a campaign for a pedestrian crossing on a busy Henley road have been rebuffed.

Officials say the accident record of Greys Road does not justify the move.

Staff and parents of pupils at Sacred Heart Primary School have been calling for a crossing for six years.

A speed survey carried out over nine weekdays in March showed that most drivers were travelling within the 30mph speed limit.

Andrea Tsoi and Louise Dodd, the school’s travel representatives, wrote to town and county councillor David Nimmo Smith, saying they believed that other criteria should be considered.

They wrote: “In our view it is unacceptable to state that a busy road cannot be eligible for a pedestrian crossing if there is no history of accidents. A survey was conducted by the county council in July 2012 and this led to the approval of our application for a school crossing patroller.

“The road was deemed sufficiently busy to warrant a patroller…. so in our view this would warrant a pedestrian crossing.

“Our need for a pedestrian crossing is further highlighted by the lack of interest in the patroller vacancy, which we have been promoting and trying to fill since late October 2012.”

Cllr Nimmo Smith told a meeting of the town council’s traffic advisory committee that the school wanted a crossing on the bend in the road, which was unsuitable.

He said: “Everyone has said from an engineering point of view that a bend is not a place to put it due to vision splays and sight lines.”

Councillor Will Hamilton added: “We decided that the corner was dangerous and the place for a crossing was by the Takhar shop. The school doesn’t appear to accept that.”

Keith Stenning, Oxfordshire County Council’s area steward, said a crossing couldn’t be installed without the road having a history of accidents.

“It is the same for all the crossings,” he said. “I did investigate but the road failed to meet the criterion because there is no accident history.”

Councillor Elizabeth Hodgkin asked whether that would still apply if the town council contributed towards the cost.

Mr Stenning replied: “It has got to meet the criterion, which is not set by us but by the Government. We simply apply it.”

Town clerk Mike Kennedy added: “It seems to me that unless a crossing meets the criterion then we are not going to get anything.”

Deputy Mayor Martin Akehurst said: “We are back to human sacrifice. Waiting for someone to be knocked over is not acceptable.” Cllr Nimmo Smith claimed that even if a crossing was provided further up Greys Road it wouldn’t be used by parents. “The kids would be dropped off at the scout hut and still cross there,” he said.

Councillor Pam Phillips said: “There was a suggestion that parents are encouraged to park further up from the Takhar shop. I think as a starting point that would be a good idea. They can park on the same side of the road then.”

Cllr Akehurst is to contact the school suggesting that parents are encouraged to take this advice.

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