NEWPORT: Go-ahead given for school crossing on “illegal” stretch of road

“IT is only by the grace of God that no one has been killed or seriously injured crossing that road,” said Newport Parish Council chairman Andrew Yarwood, reacting to the news that a six-year wait for a pedestrian crossing outside a school appears to be over.

The announcement has also been welcomed by Newport Free Grammar School headteacher Sean O’Hagan, who was delighted to hear �85,000 of funding had finally been agreed to install a Puffin crossing on Belmont Hill.

“This is very good news. The school has been campaigning for this crossing for some time,” he said. “We take the safety of our students very seriously and this new crossing will make their journey even safer.”

Cllr Yarwood said the crossing, which will be put in place by the end of the year, was the culmination of years of hard work to help improve road safety in the village.

“Quite frankly that part of the road is illegal. There could have been dozens of incidents if you count the number of near misses and it is only by the grace of God that no one has been killed or seriously injured,” he told the Reporter. “It is not just schoolchildren. Elderly people wanting to catch the bus have to cross the road, too.”

Getting better safety measures in place has been an ongoing problem in Newport. The issue came to a head in July 2010 when a pupil was knocked down by a delivery van outside the school gates while trying to cross Cambridge Road.

Later that year, a scheme to install a pelican crossing near the school stalled due the presence of a BT junction box in the preferred location. BT had wanted almost �250,000 to move it. Revised designs mean the crossing will now be further along the road.

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Essex county councillor Ray Gooding, who was instrumental in securing the funding, told the Reporter: “I am pleased to have been able to help secure the go-ahead for this scheme.”