'I'm scared for our children coming to school' - Bassingbourn headteacher calls for action as 'dangerous crossing' still without patrol officer two years on
PUBLISHED: 08:50 02 February 2017
A Bassingbourn headteacher has criticised authorities for allowing one of the busiest crossings in Cambs to be left unpatrolled for more than two years - despite it being close to both village schools.
The crossing on the bend of North End near Bassingbourn Community Primary School and the village college has been left unmanned at peak times since their previous school crossing patrol officer retired in 2014.
Primary school headteacher Rachael Schofield said: “We are struggling with this – I’m scared for our children coming to school because while we are trying to promote healthy walking to school, we’ve got this horrendous road.”
There has been an ongoing campaign to fill the vacancy since previous lollipop lady of 20 years Sue Lee retired, but Mrs Schofield feels it wouldn’t resolve the situation.
“I feel very anxious because I don’t know how it will be resolved.
“Yes we would like someone to come forward, but even then it’s not a permanent solution. It’s been so difficult to get someone, and what happens when they go and we’re in this situation again?
“It is frustrating. The parish council have said in the past it would be too dangerous to put a permanent crossing there. But we are without anything and it’s the second worst crossing in the county, which is only going to get busier.
“We have young children here, including a pre-school on site with four year olds. I think it’s going to take a fatality or an accident for the county council or the parish council to do something.”
Bassingbourn Village College principal Duncan Cooper said: “Obviously the safety of our students is of paramount importance and having someone on duty offering supported crossing is vital.
“Unfortunately we have been waiting some time now for the vacancy to be filled – hopefully someone might now come forward.”
Bassingbourn parish councillor Steve Sams is backing the calls for action. He said: “It’s been terrifying for a long time. A traffic survey last October recorded that nearly 34,000 vehicles travelled through the High Street in one week.
“At the morning and evening peaks around 500 vehicles an hour are trying to get down High Street – that’s one every seven seconds on average. No wonder children find it difficult to cross the road.
“The crossing is in a dangerous location on a bend opposite the war memorial and at present the children are crossing in the poor winter light. Hundreds of children cross at this point. Some drivers who live in the village stop and allow them to cross but others approach too fast.
“There are flashing lights at peak times, but this is not sufficient to creating a safe crossing.
“Several studies have taken place to see if it is viable to put lights or a pedestrian crossing along High Street. These have failed due to the road layout – there’s not enough sight line for this to be acceptable.
“The only solution that is viable is a patrol officer, as the county council has looked at all other road-calming measures. So we are at an impasse – we need a crossing patrol officer and need someone to come forward.”
A spokesman for Cambs County Council said: “This particular site has been identified as one of the busiest in the county but, despite targeted campaigns, nobody has come forward.
“Anyone who might be interested should contact Andy Swallowe on 07788 565502 as soon as possible.”