Essex grammar school calls for road safety action after pupil is hit by van

CALLS to improve road safety in Newport have been stepped up as a “matter of urgency” after a schoolboy was hit by a delivery van on Tuesday afternoon.

The year seven Newport Free Grammar pupil was in collision with the van while crossing Cambridge Road, just outside the school, at about 3.30pm.

Paramedics and police attended the scene and the road was temporarily shut off to traffic. The boy was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital but was released later that evening having sustained minor cuts and bruises.

The school has been campaigning for some time to get an approved crossing scheme in place for students, and headteacher Sean O’Hagan said the latest incident only serves to strengthen that need.

“This is not the first accident at this location,” he told the Reporter. “On this occasion the individual involved was very fortunate because it was quite an impact. It is only a matter of time before a more serious accident happens.

“We have been working with the parish council on several projects to improve the traffic around the school.

“Essex Highways has introduced 20mph limits on Bayswater Road but it was refused in Cambridge Road. The school is disappointed that this issue cannot be prioritised - we would appeal that it is.”

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The grammar school has other road safety initiatives it wants to take forward to improve road safety for its pupils, but cannot proceed until a solution is reached over the crossing.

Together with Newport Parish Council, they have been battling for three years to get a crossing installed on Cambridge Road.

It looked like that battle had finally been won when Essex Highways approved a pelican crossing. However, after further inspection, the scheme suffered a major setback when it was discovered that a BT connection equipment box was in the vicinity of the crossing location – and that BT want almost �250,000 to move it.

Parish council chairman, Andrew Yarwood, endorsed the school’s need for urgency.

He said: “This is an absolute must. It is a lottery for the 1000-plus students crossing there every day.

“Essex Highways is trying to work out a suitable crossing location but it seems they can’t with this BT box close by. So we’re back to square one.

“It is very frustrating because the will is there, from Essex, the school and from the parish council. We had even managed to get the funding in place.”

Essex Highways senior traffic manager for the Uttlesford area, Chris Stoneham, stressed that getting a crossing outside the school is a priority.

“We have people working on a new design to work around the BT apparatus,” he said.

“We are keen to finalise the design because funding is in place for it this year and once we know that it is achieveable we can get a more accurate assessment of costs.

“The aim is to complete the scheme this year, if we can, providing we can get around this particular issue.”

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