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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Parents win fight for safety action on north Cumbrian road

Children will soon be able to walk and cycle to school in safety after parents won their battle for action.

Joanne Wilkinson photo
Joanne Wilkinson with twins Finn and Theo

They claim the path on the edge of Carlisle, between Durranhill and Scotby, is so dangerous they can no longer use it for fear their children will be hurt or killed.

Joanne Wilkinson and her seven-year-old twins Finn and Theo took their calls for action in front of Cumbria County Council’s Carlisle Local Committee, with her boys telling politicians how dangerous it was.

And they were delighted to hear that councillors are going to widen the path and look at traffic calming measures.

Mrs Wilkinson, who lives at Barley Edge, said many children in this part of the city attend Scotby School and would like to be able to walk there.

She told the meeting: “It’s a simple fact that none of the parents or children feel safe on this school route.

“The width of the road is far too narrow and the footpath is only 0.7 metres wide. If there’s a van or a car coming along there is just nowhere for pedestrians to go, especially if you have a buggy or a toddler. It’s absolutely terrifying.

“Cars go at approximately 40mph from Scotby. They are supposed to slow down but they don’t.

“And it’s an incredibly busy road. Rosehill has five commercial garages that do test drives on there, it’s a bus route, there are wagons with sheep going to Rosehill.”

She added that the path has been made narrower by overgrown foliage and called for this to be removed urgently.

Her boys also spoke at the meeting, telling councillors: “We would like to ride our bikes to school but it’s too dangerous. The path is too narrow.”

Scotby School, where there have been high-profile problems with parents parking, has backed their campaign.

Ward councillor Robert Betton said the path had been a problem for 10 years and said it was time action was taken.

He said there had been near-misses on the road in the past.

“The footpath here is substandard and not up to scratch,” he said.

“Disabled people and children in buggies cannot fit on this path. Measures must be taken to improve it.”

Committee chairman Cyril Weber said he had good news for the campaigners.

He said: “Cumbria County Council has some plans to widen the footway. “This will be in the form of relocation of kerbs and removal of undergrowth.”

He added that they were also looking at speed information to see if any traffic calming measures could be installed.

Speaking after the meeting, Mrs Wilkinson said: “I moved to Barley Edge from Scotby in January and was walking the children to school but it was too dangerous.

“There are parking problems in Scotby. We do not want to take our cars, it’s a nice walk, but only if it’s safe.

“It’s hard to believe that after all these years we’ve managed to get a result so quickly. I just hope the council now does what it said it is going to.”

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