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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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West Cumbrian pupils campaign for vital school crossing

The head boy and girl at Cockermouth School have launched a campaign for a crossing outside their school.

Backed by headteacher Geoff Walker, who said it was “urgently needed”, the pair have been talking to highways chiefs.

The town’s rural safety group has also called for a crossing outside the Castlegate Drive school after figures revealed that drivers have been clocked speeding on nearly 10,000 occasions.

Now top pupils Edwin Brown, 17, of Bridgefoot, and Jessica Singleton, 17, of Crosby, are starting a campaign to get a crossing installed next to the bus stop outside the school.

They have already spoken to the Highways Agency’s David Bell and want to talk to town councillors Eric Nicholson and Alan Kennon.

They also plan to talk to pupils in assembly about the issue and to encourage them to walk up St Helen’s Street towards the school instead of down Castlegate Drive.

The highest recorded speed – by the town’s speed indication device – between January and September on Castlegate Drive was 81mph. The speed limit is 30mph.

Edwin said: “With lots of different people using the road, having one crossing next to the bus stop will minimise the risks.

“Numbers at the school are increasing every year and we need this crossing which should be relatively simple to install.

“Mr Bell was very positive on the issue. He felt it was a great idea and said he would put it on an action list.

“The residents who live close by were also very much in favour of it because at the moment it’s an injury waiting to happen.

“We want to send out a message to motorists to be a bit more careful.”

Jessica added: “It is not just about the cars going fast as there are a lot of children on both sides of the road.

“A lot of them cross over by the sports centre and I think some people don’t realise how busy the road is, and with the hospital being built it is only going to get busier.

“The main issue is after school as there are so many pupils walking back as well as getting picked up and people are finding it hard to park safely.”

Mr Walker said: “A controlled crossing outside Cockermouth School is needed urgently for the wellbeing and safety of my students and staff.

“We have been calling for this for some time and the building of the new hospital with its increased traffic adds to the urgency.

“The school roll at Cockermouth is increasing due to its success, and numbers will continue to grow due to the proposed house building in the town.

“Hundreds of my students are crossing the road to and from the school and I hope that the county council realises that this is an urgent essential requirement rather than one which is desirable.”

The speed indication device, which records the speeds of drivers but does not identify the vehicle, recorded 120,912 cars travelling 5mph above the speed limit at various points in the town since the start of December.

l Letter – Page 11

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