Near miss prompts school crossing plea
PUBLISHED: 10:30 09 November 2007 | UPDATED: 21:52 29 May 2010
By Alistair Nelson AN enterprising father-of-two is trying to get a lollipop person for a school after his child had a near miss with a speeding car, on Monday. Brian Gilbert, whose two children attend Great Dunmow Primary S
By Alistair Nelson
AN enterprising father-of-two is trying to get a lollipop person for a school after his child had a near miss with a speeding car, on Monday.
Brian Gilbert, whose two children attend Great Dunmow Primary School, in Walnut Walk, Woodlands Park Drive, said: "The volume of traffic on the road outside the school is increasing.
"It's no longer a question of if someone gets hurt, but when."
After his son, five-year-old George, was nearly hit by a car on the road, Mr Gilbert decided to take action.
"My wife was collecting our two children from school when my youngest wandered into the road. Thankfully he escaped unhurt but it was very close. My wife rang me after the incident and was very upset.
"It made me very angry that there is not a safe crossing and drove me to find a solution."
Mr Gilbert arranged meetings with headteacher Sylvia Ruck, contacted the Essex County Council highways department and rang Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst.
"The council said the road is not deemed busy enough to warrant the funding of a lollipop person. It seems to all come down to the issue of money, but I wasn't prepared to accept that answer when my child's safety was at risk.
"Also I received a phone call from Sir Alan, who had got my message, and he gave his full support to the campaign."
Determined not to let this first knock-back be the end of the matter Mr Gilbert came up with a solution that would provide the school with safer access and be cost effective.
"I put the idea to the headteacher and the county council that the school's caretaker could work for half-an-hour in the morning and the afternoon as a lollipop man," he said.
The headteacher agreed with the idea in principal and the council said they would be prepared to provide the safety equipment and additional training necessary for the caretaker to do the job.
An Essex County Council highways spokesman said: "We have looked at the site in some detail. The road does not meet the criteria for a crossing patrol person based on vehicle movements and the number of people wanting to cross.
"In such cases we are prepared to provide training to people who wish to volunteer their time to become a crossing patrol person.
"We would state that parents have a responsibility to drop off and pick up their children safely and think of others crossing the road."
Mr Gilbert said: "Everyone has been really positive about the scheme. The council praised me for coming up with an ingenious idea. Hopefully it is something that can be adopted by other schools."
Although Mrs Ruck was not in a position to comment on whether the caretaker would be asked to take on the role of the lollipop man, she said: "The school is working closely with the Essex County Council. The travel plan has been drawn up and we are initiating a walking bus. We are also looking at the possibility of a pedestrian crossing person."
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