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Pupils taken out of Newport school class over traffic fears

By Rob Smith | Newport | Transport | Published: | Last Updated:

A group of parents have withdrawn their children from a class at a Newport school, saying the road they have to cross to get there is too dangerous.

The junction where Chetwynd Road becomes Chester Road. Photo: Google StreetView.

Parents pulled their children out of 'forest school' classes at St Peter and St Paul Catholic Primary School on Coppice Drive, off the busy Chetwynd Road.

The road leads north out of Newport, becoming Chester Road.

Parents say there is not enough signage on Chetwynd Road to make drivers aware that schoolchildren have to cross there for their ‘forest school' classes.

Telford & Wrekin councillor and town deputy mayor Peter Scott said the dangerous road is a hot topic in the town.

He said: “I have met with Telford & Wrekin Council which has agreed to look at the safety of the road and more signage but this will not be a quick fix.

“Many people don’t realise there is a school there at all unless they have children who go there, which is a bit crazy in this day and age.

St Peter and St Paul Catholic School. Photo: Google StreetView.

“I would like to give out a warning to all motorists using that road that, due to the blind bend and the raised road, it is best to approach that area at around no more than 20mph until we can get more signage in place.”

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Councillor Scott said it will be difficult to find funding for permanent signage before the end of the financial year but that Newport Town Council hoped to arrange temporary signs.

Tim Mitchell, a Newport resident whose two sons attend St Peter and St Paul, said he was one of a group of parents who had removed their children from the class because of the “inadequate and frankly dangerous road crossing”.

He said: “The school was built in 2006 and has the use of the nearby Chetwynd Deer Park which it utilises as a forest school, embracing outdoor learning. This has always been a highlight for the children and one of the reasons we and many other parents chose the school.

“Previously the children attending the forest school were dropped off and picked up at the Deer Park by the parents, a safe option which worked well. Recent changes will involve the children having to cross the busy Chester Road accompanied by staff four times a day.”

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A Telford & Wrekin Council spokesman said: "Telford & Wrekin Council has been aware of concerns at this site for a number of years and our Road Safety team have been working with the school and the Headteacher to put measures in place to assess the potential risk and put suitable mitigating measures in place.

“Such measures include, wearing high-visibility vests, members of staff standing in advance of the crossing point to advise of any hazards and also providing road safety education to the pupils to ensure they understand the risks when walking across or alongside a road.

“In addition to this, there are warning signings warning of the proximity of the school either side of the junction which are on yellow backgrounds to help highlight these further.

“We will look to see whether any improvements could be made to these signs.

"We are currently working closely with Newport Community Safety Committee to identify key issues in Newport and putting plans in place to deliver improvements as part of the Newport Enterprise Package where funding has been secured to deliver improvements throughout Newport Town Centre.

“This issue will be raised with the group to discuss whether the funding secured as part of the Enterprise Package should be used on undertaking addition improvements at this location.

“It is also worth noting that the nearby housing development at Edgmond Road and the planned one north of Plough Lane both complied with the National Planning Policy Framework and therefore there was no reason in planning law to oppose those applications.”

And Stacey Beale, who is headteacher of St Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, said: “As a school, we always make children’s safety our absolute priority.

“We also don’t want children to miss out on enjoying the beautiful natural environment and outdoor learning that is right on our doorstep.

“The Road Safety Officer has inspected and approved our procedures and risk assessments so that the children will be able to cross safely, and our wonderful Forest School provision can be protected.

“We fully support and plans for improvement at the location. To support this, parents and residents can write a letter to the Highways Department at highways@telford.gov.uk

"Requests will then be formally logged.”

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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