Teachers and parents share fears about speed of traffic along route to children’s school

DM15221661a.jpg Petition launched to improve pedestrian safety near Clapham and Patching Primary School. L to R Alessandra Belelli, Solveig Avina and Barbara Paci. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-151210-165448008
DM15221661a.jpg Petition launched to improve pedestrian safety near Clapham and Patching Primary School. L to R Alessandra Belelli, Solveig Avina and Barbara Paci. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-151210-165448008

Parents have launched a petition calling for West Sussex County Council to improve safety along a busy road.

Alessandra Belelli, 33, said she would like to see the footpath along Long Furlong, between Clapham and Patching, widened and safety barriers installed to protect children as they walked to school.

If one of those cars comes off of the road it will kill a child or one of the mothers

Alessandra Belelli

Ms Belelli, of Goring-by-Sea, has two children at Clapham & Patching Primary School. She said: “Cars go at up to 60mph along there and there isn’t a single safety barrier. If one of those cars comes off of the road it will kill a child or one of the mothers.”

With space in the village at a minimum, Miss Belelli said she and many other parents parked at the village hall before walking their children to school. She said: “We’ve got mothers with buggies and toddlers and it’s like Moses with the Israelites going along there.”

Appealing for motorists to drive cautiously, she warned: “We’re not talking about crashing into a wall, we’re talking about a child or a mother or a grandmother.”

Clapham & Patching headteacher Jane Jones said she fully understood the concerns of parents – concerns which the school shared.

Describing the road as “very dangerous”, Miss Jones explained children would often be walked along the road to the village hall for PE lessons as the school did not have a hall of its own.

She said: “The path is very narrow indeed and West Sussex tend not to cut the nettles down; it was only recently they cut the foliage down. It is very dangerous.”

Miss Jones said the traffic in Long Furlong often travelled at “what seems to be quite a speed” and added: “I could talk at length about people going through the traffic lights when they are on red.” She added: “It can be quite intimidating.”

The petition, which will be online until Thursday December 31, is one of two currently on the council’s e-petition website relating to Long Furlong. The second, which will be online until Monday November 2, calls for the introduction of a lower speed limit as well as speed cameras and double white lines.

A council spokesman said: “We are following up concerns regarding speeding motorists in the 40mph zone that passes the junction that leads to school, The Street.”

The petition can be found at {http://epetition.westsussex.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/3274#div_sigs |epetition.westsussex.public-i.tv|epetition}.

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