Children walking to Portslade primary school ‘dicing with death’

Posted On 15 Nov 2013 at 3:46 pm
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By Jenni Davidson

Parents say children’s lives are being put in danger walking to a Portslade primary school.

Many of the pupils at St Peter’s Community Primary School in St Peter’s Road, Portslade, have to cross nearby Church Road to get to school.

The road is used by lorries as a direct route between Shoreham Harbour and the A27 bypass.

Parents say it is only a matter of time before a child is injured or killed on the road.

“It’s a terrifying road when you’ve got children, terrifying,” said one mother as she crossed this morning (Friday 15 November).

“There’s just a lot of traffic. It’s heavy traffic. It’s not school run stuff,” said a father, Ben Shepperd.

Another mother, Natasha Bell, told how several parents had recently witnessed a near miss when a child with a scooter was almost hit by a lorry.

“The children are dicing with death every day,” she said.

Parents, teachers, community groups, ward councillors and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hove and Portslade, Peter Kyle, are campaigning for a crossing on Church Road.

At present there is just a traffic island.

New crossings are considered on a points system based around a number of criteria such as the ratio of pedestrians to vehicles, the speed limit, the width of the road and the number of pedestrian deaths or casualties.

Similar criteria are used by all councils to ensure crossings decisions are made objectively and impartially.

But Michele Lawrie, the headteacher of St Peter’s, said it made her feel ill seeing points awarded for the death of a child.

South Portslade ward councillors Les Hamilton and Alan Robins have been to Church Road to observe the problem for themselves.

Between 8.15am and 9.15am on Wednesday 13 November they counted 142 pedestrians and 871 vehicles, including 81 lorries.

Councillor Hamilton pointed out that there is already a crossing further up Church Road for St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, which suggests the criteria must have been met.

A petition with over 800 signatures calling for the crossing on Church Road was presented to Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on Monday 7 October.

Councillor Pete West, the committee chairman, promised the request would be added to list of crossing points to be considered and would be looked at before the end of the year.

But the campaigners say this is not soon enough.

They want to see a crossing installed before Christmas.

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