A HEADTEACHER has warned a narrow pavement along a busy road used by schoolchildren on the way to church is “an accident waiting to happen”.
The headteacher and governors of St Chad’s Primary School want residents of nearby Stocks Court to allow pupils to walk through their estate instead of along “hazardous” Hardhorn Road.
But Stocks Court residents have voted against letting the children through, saying there are other routes the school could use and their questions over insurance had not been answered satisfactorily.
Pete Hyland, headteacher of the Hardhorn Road school, said: “When travelling to church once a month the children, some as young as four, have to negotiate a very narrow and hazardous section of Hardhorn Road.
“For some eight years the school has attempted to negotiate a locked, gated thoroughfare only to be used when the pupils travel to church.
“Despite me providing assurances at the Stocks Court annual general meeting the gate would not become a permanent right of way, would not be detrimental to the prices of the flats and increase house insurance costs, the directors would not support the proposal and merely suggested alternate routes which were also either hazardous or unnecessarily long.
“While part of the land which the school proposed as a route is owned by Stocks Court, it didn’t seem an unreasonable request and we also offered a trial period completely at the school’s cost.”
Currently, the children wear high visibility vests and the school’s caretaker stands in the road to protect them – but he has been clipped by cars’ wing mirrors on numerous occasions.
The school had hoped for permission to use the thoroughfare, which would bring them out at the pelican crossing on Queen’s Square, around 15 times a year when the youngsters attend church services.
Mr Hyland even offered to have a legal document drawn up which would set out the agreement by which the thoroughfare could be used.
He added: “This would be the best route. We do everything we can to protect the children’s safety – they have all got yellow jackets on.
“But we have got these big vehicles driving by and some of these pupils could be blown off and into the road. It’s an accident waiting to happen.
“I am really disappointed in the decision and very much hope the residents will reconsider their position.”
A spokesman for the Stocks Court committee said: “This has been going on for 15 years.
“We had a meeting with the headteacher and explained there are four other routes through Poulton the children could take without going onto private property.
“When we asked what the situation would be with insurance, the answer we got was unsatisfactory. As far as we’re concerned that is the end of the matter.”