Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Appeal to improve road safety outside school

PARENTS at a village primary school are trying to raise £10,000 for electronic signs to deter speeding drivers.

PARENTS at a village primary school are trying to raise £10,000 for electronic signs to deter speeding drivers.

They say their children’s lives are being put at risk by people who ignore the “slow down” warnings painted on the road as they approach the school in Stoke Row.

They want to have flashing lights and a 20mph advisory speed limit during school hours.

The limit would not be legally enforceable but the parents believe it would encourage drivers to think twice.

They have reached almost half their target through fund-raising events but are now seeking sponsors as they want to put their plans into action as soon as possible.



The school entrance is on the main road through the village and emerges on to a narrow verge barely wide enough for one adult and with a pavement on only one side.

There is no street lighting and it is a blind junction so drivers are less likely to see a child running out. The road has a 30mph speed limit currently but parents say this is too high and that drivers ignore it.

Concerns were first raised shortly after the school’s lollipop lady retired a year ago.

The school asked Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, for a replacement but was told the village was too quiet and rural to justify the cost after the funding criteria were tightened as part of government cuts. Instead, Highways England assessed the site and suggested improvements that the school could pay for.

A zebra crossing was ruled out due to the lack of street lighting so two flashing signs either side of the school entrance were recommended.

If the school buys and installs the lights the county council will take responsibility for their upkeep.

Yvette Kershaw, secretary of the Friends of Stoke Row School, said: “It seems you can’t get a lollipop lady these days unless you’re right on the A1.

“The council’s officers agreed there was a danger but it didn’t meet their criteria so they simply wouldn’t pay.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen — the children come straight out on to a main road and there have already been a couple of near-misses.

“Cars drive past quickly and when one stops to let children cross, those behind them often pull out and  overtake.”

Mrs Kershaw, from Tokers Green, whose five-year-old daughter Lexie is a pupil, added: “We’ve been fund- raising for a long time but we’ve only got 90 children from about 70 families so there are limits to what we can achieve. We really want this installed by the start of the next academic year but the money’s always being chipped away because the school has many ongoing costs. If a few businesses could each donate £1,000 it would help enormously.”

Headteacher Charlotte Harris said: “The safety of our children is our absolute priority so I support and am grateful to the Friends for their  campaigning.

“We would be delighted to talk to any businesses who feel that they could support us.”

A county council spokesman said that school crossing staff used to be replaced automatically but now this only happened in places with the “greatest need”.

The Stoke Row road was assessed against national guidelines agreed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Department for Transport but didn’t score highly enough to justify funding.

The school’s campaign is one of three causes that will receive a share of £1,000 through Waitrose’s Community Matters green token scheme this month. Shoppers at the company’s Henley store can nominate the school and the more votes it gets, the more money it receives.

Businesses who want to help should email fosrs@hotmail.co.uk



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