Headmaster urges council to put safety above complaints

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Bennet Carr, headmaster at King Edward VI School, demonstrated the hazard students face with the use of a manakin. Photo: Mark Williamson

A Stratford headmaster is urging the county council put pupil safety above complaints from local businesses and re-route the town’s sightseeing bus away from the school’s entrance.

Earlier this year Bennet Carr, headmaster at King Edward VI School, raised urgent safety concerns about busses and other large vehicles mounting the kerb just inches from the school’s pedestrian entrance on Chapel Lane.

He explained that cars parked on the opposite side of the narrow road were forcing large vehicles to take these potentially dangerous actions and near misses where children were almost hit had been reported.

During one such instance in June a schoolboy had to be prevented from walking out of the school gates into the path of an oncoming bus.

One of the large vehicles which regularly mounts the kerb is the Stratford tourist bus, which passes down Chapel Lane around every 20 minutes.

Mr Carr says it is not the fault of bus drivers for using the road but the council for so far failing to alter the route they must travel.

Progress appeared to be being made on this earlier in the year with a proposal to relocate the tourist bus stop from Chapel Lane to opposite the Falcon Pub on Chapel Street put out for consultation.

Such a move would have stopped the bus passing down Chapel Lane completely, but the idea appears to have stalled after objections were raised to the plan.

Mr Carr has also urged the council to remove around six car parking spaces from Chapel Lane during school hours, a measure which would make it unnecessary for any large vehicles passing down the road to mount the kerb.

Mr Carr said: “The safety of children has to be the number one priority, don’t get me wrong if it has a knock on effect on local businesses then that is unfortunate but all other issues are secondary. What would be worse is if a child is knocked down, because it is a dangerous situation that exists at the moment.

“Too many promises have been made before and not kept and why they feel they have to wait for the bus to be rerouted before they can consider removing the parking spaces makes no sense to me at all, they already have plenty of evidence that large vehicles are putting children in danger on Chapel Lane.

“In terms of changing the bus route, I think the council has a duty of care to ensure that bus drivers are not put in a position where they could hit a child.

“We want the spaces removed because it’s not just the busses that are a worry, at least their drivers know there is a school on Chapel Lane, it’s the problem of other large vehicles who may be unfamiliar with the road, being forced onto the pavement.”

Stagecoach, which runs the Stratford sightseeing bus, is keen to see the route changed, a spokesperson from the company saying: “We are very much supportive of the stance taken by the school and the safety argument that they have put forward. We would like to see the bus stop relocated to outside the Falcon Hotel.”

A spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council said: “A proposal put forward for a bus stopping point be created on Chapel Street, adjacent to the Falcon Hotel, for the use of Stratford Tourist Buses received objections. Therefore a report will be presented to The Portfolio Holder in November.”

Analysis of the school’s CCTV earlier this year revealed that during one school week 87 large vehicles mounted the kerb, driving the length of the pavement across the school entrance.

Addressing this issue of removing parking spaces the spokesperson added: “The council will look into the possibility of relocating some of the parking on Chapel Lane, to alleviate the issues described by the school.

“A full assessment of the situation is not possible until the bus has been rerouted. Once an assessment has been completed we will discuss further with the Local County Councillor and decide on the correct course of action.”

 

  • Centre Parting

    Buses, scheduled services or not, should not be sent down unsuitable roads: I would have thought that if a risk assessment was carried out for a route such as outside KES it should not be used. The bus companies’ insurers would not give cover.

    Traffic wardens should be monitoring these bus/coach situations and not persecute private motorists as they do at present. It would help improve air quality if buses were kept out of the town centre, as well as improve traffic flow.