Pledge to look into school route safety

TRANSPORT chiefs have pledged to investigate ways of making a school run safer for pupils in Waltham Chase.

As reported in the Daily Echo, dozens of parents signed a petition demanding action over the main road through the village that they say is a danger to their children.

The petition was handed over to Winchester MP Mark Oaten who submitted it to Hamp-shire County Council in a bid to install better signage and reduce the speed of traffic along the B2177.

Now Hampshire’s transport officers have pledged to look into installing new signs along the busy route that children are forced to walk along on their way to school.

In a letter to Mr Oaten, assistant director of Hampshire’s environment department Alan Mills says work has begun on traffic surveys through the village.

He says: “Please be assured that investigations have now commenced to see what additional measures might be appropriate to address these concerns.”

Mr Mills said as a result of the letter a consultation with the school and parents would be set up with a view to adopting a Safer Route to School programme which would mean more signage if appropriate. However, Mr Mills ruled out the possibility of a speed camera in the village as it didn’t meet the criteria. He also stressed that parents’ concerns might not easily be met owing to the B1277 being a main route for heavy goods traffic.

Parent Julia Watts, who has two children at the St John the Baptist primary school in the village, said: “It is good that they have responded to our concerns but to be honest if they have started these traffic surveys then I certainly haven’t seen any evidence of them.

“I think the problem is everything takes time and in the meantime an accident could happen.”

Mr Oaten accompanied a group of parents and children on a typical walk to school last month.

Parents complained that their children were vulnerable to high-sided vehicles driving through Waltham Chase as they walked along the narrow pavements.

A number of people also said they had been knocked over by wing mirrors as they walked alongside the road.

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