Petition calls for safe crossing after child knocked over
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A SCHOOL headteacher has backed calls for a permanent safe crossing along Bede Road, in Barnard Castle, after a child was knocked over.
The accident happened near the Bede Road junction with Victoria Road, on Friday, December 10, when the crossing was unstaffed because the officer was unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances.
At the time, Teesdale School released a statement to parents saying the Durham Road Safety Team were unable to provide a replacement officer and urged extra care when pupils cross the road.
Last week police were called in to ensure scores of pupils from the school as well as Green Lane Primary could cross the road safely.
Parent Paddy Walker subsequently started a campaign calling on Durham County Council to install a permanent safe crossing, similar to the one along Harmire Road at GSK. His children currently attend Green Lane Primary School.
He said: “The main concern is that a young girl was knocked down. I believe she was walking home from school at the time.
“My daughter is due to go to Teesdale School and she will be using that crossing.
“We need to make the Bede Road crossing safe for our children attending local schools and the leisure centre.
“It has a heavy traffic flow through the day and evening, and we only have a school crossing patrol for one or two hours daily, Monday to Friday.”
An online petition he started has gained more than 260 signatures, including that of Green Lane headteacher Rob Goffee.
He said: “I fully support the idea of a crossing somewhere around that junction. The top of Bede Road is an absolute nightmare.
“It is hard enough getting your car out [from Victoria Road] – unless there is a lollipop person there, it is impossible [for pedestrians] to get across.”
Mr Walker and fellow campaigner Paul Raine believe the problem will only get worse when the Lidl and Home Bargains stores open nearby.
Not only will the traffic be heavier, but there will be more pedestrians wanting to cross the road, they said.
Mr Raine added: “The police helping the children cross the road is commendable but they shouldn’t have to do this. There needs to be a permanent solution.”
The have called on county officers to meet them and see first-hand the number of pupils who use the crossing.
The county’s head of transport, Dave Wafer said he was happy to meet with school officers over the issue.
He added: “Unfortunately, the school crossing patrol at Bede Road is unavailable this week due to unforeseen circumstances.
“Pupils, parents and carers have been made aware of this and we have requested additional support from the local police team.
“Residents can be assured that we take road safety very seriously and we would be happy to meet with the school to discuss any concerns regarding the site.
“We carefully consider all requests for traffic calming measures and pedestrian crossing facilities in accordance with current legislation, policies and best practice and prioritise accordingly.”
People can sign Mr Walker’s petition at change.org/p/durham-county-council-bede-road-crossing.