Concerned Parents Sign Petition For Safe School Walking Route

Site of proposed path accross the Watermeadow

124 islanders have signed a petition asking the Council not to drop a planning condition to create a safe walking route to the new school.

Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden, has told us he is recommending that the planning requirement is modified but he doesn’t want it dropped. He’s suggesting a six-month assessment to give time for him to look at all options for a path or traffic calming measures.

PTA Chair Helen Glenn favours a raised path across the Watermeadow from Old Town but Craig says that route wasn’t specifically referred to in the condition.

There’s been significant representation from concerned parents and Craig says his decision not to allow the school builders, Kier Western, to drop the path requirement is partially reactive because of the level of community response.

But he adds that another planning condition was for the school to create a travel plan. He says the authority hasn’t agreed or seen this work and this is the schools responsibility although the School say they have produced it.

Craig feels the plan could promote “walking buses”  or a car share scheme by teachers. After the first day of the new school yesterday, some residents have commented on staff use of the car park.

Old Town resident, Roy Asten, claimed it was full with staff cars and he suggested that some of them should walk as they live closer than the pupils

Helen Glenn told us the current situation, of a quick drop-off area, isn’t a practical solution because you can’t expect a four-year old to be left to wander on their own into school. She says some car parking is needed and a path.

Helen is concerned at Craig’s proposal for a six-month assessment, adding that the builders will be gone by then. She feels that if the access plans were a condition of the school build, they should have been resolved before the school opened.

Helen claims parents feel strongly and some say they will attend the planning meeting on Thursday to air their concerns.

They are urging councillors to insist on the construction of a path by the beginning of the second half of the Autumn Term, when the clocks change and dark mornings make the Old Town beach road an unacceptable hazard to children.