200 sign petition to improve safety at Saffron Walden’s “most dangerous crossing”

DESPERATE parents have launched a petition to introduce “vital” safety measures at a perilous school crossing.

It follows an incident two weeks ago when a boy in Year 5 was almost hit by a car near St Mary’s Primary School in Saffron Walden at a spot described as the “most dangerous place to cross in the town”.

The school has been without a lollipop lady for nearly six months after the previous one stepped down from the role in January.

In February, county councillor Robert Chambers joined forces with concerned parents and neighbours to appeal for a replacement.

But the bid has so far failed, forcing schoolchildren and parents to risk dashing across Little Walden Road at the top of Castle Street.

The petition was started by Fiona Venning, of Marking’s Field, whose two sons – George, 10, and Patrick, 6 – go to the school. It has so far attracted around 200 signatures in just one week.

Speaking to the Reporter, she said: “The aim is to persuade the council to appoint a new lollipop lady and for a mirror to be put up so that children and parents can see if cars are coming before they cross the road.

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“It is very dangerous, especially for mums with push chairs, and it is vital that something is done to make it safer.”

Katrina Robinson, whose children Thomas, 11, and Emily, 7, go to St Mary’s, has also vowed to lobby councillors for improved safety at the crossing. She was at the heart of the original appeal.

“The spot is probably the worst place in the town for children to cross,” she said.

“Parents have to walk into the road to stop the traffic and allow children to get from one side to the other.

“People can make a difference, but only when they come together. We hope by starting the petition residents will feel compelled to help before a child is seriously injured.”

Meanwhile, headteacher Surge Dhanda has blasted council chiefs for the lack of action since the first plea went out.

“The school has been left in the dark as to whether there will be a new lollipop lady or any crossing patrol measures introduced,” she said. “We are not sure if the council has put the request on hold or if it just takes six months to do something about it.

“We are obviously concerned about the safety of the children crossing at the top of the road because it is dangerous, especially with a number of after school clubs starting in the summer.”

Cllr Chambers told the Reporter he hoped the school would be getting a new lollipop lady soon.

“I cannot see a reason why the petition for a mirror to be installed should not be successful and I think it is a good idea,” he said. “In the longer term I would like to see a crossing there, but it takes time.”