Craig Disappointed At SEELB Response Over Spa Primary School Road Safety Review

A war of words has broken out as parents and a local Ballynahinch DUP councillor have questioned the SEELB position over the removal of a street crossing patrol person.

[caption id="attachment_48169" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Children from Spa Primary School crossing at the Spa crossroads... with the aid of a crossing patrol person as was previously the case. Children from Spa Primary School crossing at the Spa crossroads with Cllr Garth Craig in their midst… with the aid of a parent following the removal of the crossing patrol person.[/caption]

Down District Councillor  Garth Craig  said: “The response I received from the SEELB indicated that they considered the removal of the crossing patrol  lady justified on the grounds of the junction being ‘low risk’ and also on the basis of low numbers of children using the crossing. I will definitely be challenging both these conclusions.

[caption id="attachment_48170" align="alignleft" width="300"]A school road sign at Spa facing the wrong way. A school road sign at Spa facing the wrong way.[/caption]

“In my view the junction beside the school is certainly not  low risk due to the poor visibility of traffic coming from the Ballynahinch direction and turning sharp left on to the Dunmore Road.  Also the fact that there were no serious accidents involving pedestrians over the years indicated the good work done by the crossing patrol. I will be writing to the SEELB again because I want a further assessment carried out at the junction.  In better weather children prefer to walk to school so another survey would yield a totally different result.

“I have requested flashing school warning signs some time ago and in December 2011 I had been advised by Roads Service that Spa Primary School is ‘next on our list for 2012.’  I will therefore continue to follow this up with Roads Service, but I am  very disappointed that a recent correspondence indicated the school was fifth on the list and that these signs would not be in place for another 4-5 years.  Therefore, I will be seeking an urgent site meeting with senior DRD Roads Service representatives on this matter,”  added Cllr Craig.

Down News spoke to concerned parents and Georgina Brown said: “I have a child at the school and I am deeply concerned as the traffic on the Spa road is fast and without a street crossing patrol person I think our children are more in danger when they cross at the Spa junction.

“This is a rural area and children often live a distance from their homes. On the past a patrol lady was deemed necessary but now it is not! This is just ridiculous. Many of the parents at the school are deeply concerned about his problem. Something has to be done to make this road safer.”

Also adding her concerns to road safety for the children, parent Lesley Ann Lyons said: “My two boys go to school in Spa and we live on the Castlewellan side which means they have to cross the road. We need better signage and among other things  as lights and probably something to slow the traffic down. Four years ago we were in fact promised school lights but that never materialised.

“At times there could be a group of 8-11 children crossing just one part of this dangerous junction. One of the school street signs is even pointing round the wrong way and is obscured by a bush or tree. Traffic does tend to fly along the Spa Road  and it just takes a lapse of concentration to lead to an accident. I am glad that Cllr Craig is pressing the DRD for action.”