Action demanded amid safety risks for children walking to school in Leighton Buzzard

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Schools affected are Cedars, Linslade Middle and Southcott Lower in Linslade

Residents are demanding action over safety fears for children walking to schools in Leighton Buzzard.

And concerns have also been raised about parking between Bluebell Nursery and Southcott Lower School in Linslade, where there are no pavements.

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Dr Clive Palmer said he has written to local councillors highlighting the dangers for parents and pupils walking to Southcott Lower School on Bideford Green.

Safety issues have been raised due to a lack of pavements outside Southcott Lower SchoolSafety issues have been raised due to a lack of pavements outside Southcott Lower School
Safety issues have been raised due to a lack of pavements outside Southcott Lower School

He said: “Central Beds Council officers are well aware of these issues but residents remain very concerned, especially about safety issues and hope that action will be taken to improve the situation.

"A petition some years ago about the problems outside Southcott Lower School had resulted in some improvements when yellow lines were introduced in Bideford Green, but these measures have not helped and the major issue of no pavement remains.”

But Central Beds Council is not optimistic about any further improvements due to the original design of Bideford Green.

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A spokesperson for the council said: “We’re aware there is ongoing concern for people accessing Southcott Lower School on Bideford Green and previously have introduced improvements to address this.

The build up of traffic approaching Cedars Upper SchoolThe build up of traffic approaching Cedars Upper School
The build up of traffic approaching Cedars Upper School

"However, the absence of any pavements is a fundamental aspect of the Bideford Green estate design, as it was originally intended that residents would use the network of internal footpaths.

“At the time of its design, the idea of children travelling from outside the catchment area was unlikely to have been considered. Now, there is not enough space within the road to create a protected walkway, and there is no foreseeable way to acquire land from neighbouring properties for this purpose. Additionally, there are no available roadside verges or other areas that could be repurposed to address this issue.”

Dr Palmer has also monitored Wing Road/Railway Bridge and Cedars Way, a route used by children as young as nine to walk to and from both Linslade Middle and Cedars Upper Schools.

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He said: “To be frank, I am appalled at the clear safety risks for those children and believe an immediate safety audit and remedial action is required. The traffic in Cedars Way at these times is totally chaotic as a result of volume and parking.

“The heavy traffic is frequently at a standstill under Wing Railway Bridge (which is traffic light controlled and one way as a result of the narrow carriageway) and causes blockages in Cedars Way and a build-up of vehicles wanting to turn from Wing Road.

He added: “Apart from the impasses and blockages, it results in vehicles mounting the pavement with unacceptable safety risks for the high volume of children walking to and from school.

"The area is also part of a bus route causing further chaos.

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“I am clear that for safety’s sake action does need to be taken both in relation to the Wing Road/Railway Bridge crossing and Cedars Way issues. Things can only get even worse as winter approaches."

Dr Palmer said he had raised the issue with Central Beds Council.