Overstrand primary drives ahead with plans to curb road safety concerns
PUBLISHED: 00:40 16 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:23 16 May 2016
Archant Norfolk 2015
A drive to improve road safety outside a local primary school could see parents offering up their driveways to problem parkers to ease congestion.
That was one of a series of radical proposals made at an open meeting in the Belfry CEVA Primary School at Overstrand this week after lollipop lady Clare Squires was rushed to hospital following a collision with a car.
Headteacher Titus Cotton, who has demanded an end to “selfish” and “dangerous” parking at the 136-pupil school, revealed a petition could also be launched for traffic calming measures on Cromer Road, such as a zebra crossing, bollards or 20mph speed limit.
Other proposals included a ban on other motorists using Paul’s Lane car park during drop-off and pick-up times to create more room for the school run, slapping notices on poorly parked cars, introducing a walking bus for pupils, and a community speedwatch campaign.
In a letter to parents, Mr Cotton, who warned them they were better late then dead, said: “The appalling and dangerous parking that we see on a regular basis outside of school may or may not have played some part in (the weekend’s) incident but there can be no doubt that the selfish and thoughtless parking needs to come to an end.”
The headteacher revealed the school offered reassurance to pupils, some of whom witnessed the collision, at an assembly following the early morning drama, which unfolded last Friday around 8.40am.
And some of them made cards for the lollipop lady, who was taken to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital before she returned home.
Mr Cotton said: “We are enormously relieved to hear that Mrs Squires is doing well and is back at home. She is, of course, extremely shaken but is on the mend.
“It is a shocking event to have happened and I hope that all the children and parents who were nearby are doing okay. The school met together for assembly where we discussed what had happened and answered questions, remaining reassuring and calm.”
The school website revealed that there had already been “a fair few near misses” outside the school but that it had so far failed to find a solution.
One option previously considered was the installation of electric gates to the school car park which it was noted in a report on child safety would be a “huge expense”.
It states: “Children crossing the gateway entrance to the car park is where the problem can occur. That area is by far the most dangerous area outside the school and always where we get near misses. People who park and drive off in that area regularly miss children by inches, and cars use that driveway from both sides.”
Overstrand Parish Council has raised concerns over the speed of traffic on Cromer Road with the police and Norfolk County Council.
When told of the latest incident, former parish council chairwoman Mary Haynes said: “They’re always on about speeding on Cromer Road.” But she added: “The police come and say it’s all within the limits and the county council accept that.”
Norfolk County Council said it would monitor the situation. The local authority confirmed an injury was recorded to a pedestrian on the same stretch of road in April 2011 but insisted the accident rate outside the school was “relatively low”.
Mr Cotton added: “I believe that one way forward is to go through the Parish Council and Highways Department and seek some type of enforceable restrictions to be put in place.
“Other excellent suggestions have been made, many involving parents working together informally, such as coming together for talking buses, pupils meeting up with friends at safe points to walk on together, and there were suggestions of parents offering up their driveways to those parking nearby.
“There is no silver bullet but, by looking at so many different ideas, we can gradually decrease the likelihood of any further incidents.”
Norfolk Constabulary confirmed it had passed a file to the traffic justice unit to decide whether anyone is to be prosecuted in connection with the latest collision.
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