Councillors and MP back calls for new crossing outside school on busy Hemel road
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Plans for a pelican crossing outside a primary school are progressing as local councillors and the MP throw their weight behind them.
A petition was launched last month after two children were involved in collisions with cars on Bennetts End Road in Hemel Hempstead – just one day apart.
Councillor Jan Maddern, representing Nash Mills ward, has been working on getting a crossing in place outside The Reddings since June - and following calls by parents for a pelican crossing she has spoken with the headteacher and the Hemel Hempstead MP.
The Reddings has now filled the vacant position, which Cllr Maddern believes will help the situation for now.
She said: “We have looked at the cost of getting electric light crossing and the Herts Highways said the funding for it will have to come out of the councillor’s locality budget.
“The road falls in my ward, and also Cllr Andrew Williams’ ward, so I suggested if we both put a third in from our budgets and then source funding from somewhere else for the other third.
“Andrew is happy to do that, but he needs to see how much funding is left from what he has already committed to.
“The trouble is that we work ahead with the budget so there are a number of things that he has already committed to from his budget. As I am new to this role, I do not have previous commitments to projects in the area.
“The MP has been really helpful and is helping us to source a third of the funding.
“The final decision will be made by Herts Highways but I don’t see why, if we provide the funding, they will say no to it.
“A school crossing patrol has been appointed so that is positive news and will help the situation outside the school for now, but we can do more and we should. I am committed to making this road safer.”
Sir Mike Penning MP has spoken with Cllr Maddern, Cllr Andrews, the school headteacher, Herts Highways, Dacorum Borough Council and Cllr Terry Douris, Executive Member, Education, Libraries and Lifelong Learning,
Mr Penning said: “We had a meeting with everybody who I thought would have anything to do with the school.
“I wanted to make sure we could get to the bottom of it.
“Herts Highways said that they were unable to put a pelican crossing there as there had not been enough accidents.
“I said that surely we want to prevent accidents before they happen, which is what this crossing could do. It is difficult for them as they are adhering to the rules.
“I spoke to Dacorum Council and they will be making the road markings clearer, which has also been raised as a concern.
“They are going to repaint the markings on the road so it is clear for everyone to see.
“The funding can come from the councillors locality budgets. Jan Maddern has said that she can put £30,000 to £35,000 from her unallocated budget, and Andrew Williams, who has already allocated a large amount of his budget can put £5,000.
“The total we need is £90,000, we have that figure from the engineers.
“I have spoken to the county council to see if there is anywhere else that we can get funding for it from, and I have also approached the PCC, who said he will help if we are short of money, which is positive.
“It will not happen tomorrow, it will take time. Realistically, we are probably looking at April.
“There will have to be a consultation, and some residents may lose some parking on the road.
“But I would rather someone lose some parking than a child lose their life.
“We are also hoping to get more crossings across Hemel if this one is successful.
“The campaign for 20mph outside is important as well, although there is no indication that speeding was an issue with regards to the two incidents last month.
“If we can get 20mph speed cameras outside schools that will also make a difference and help with the problem.”
A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council said: “The safety of our school community is paramount and we are happy to confirm that we have worked with Reddings School to fund, train and deploy a school crossing patrol outside the school.
“We are continuing to work with Councillor Maddern and the local Member of Parliament to consider further options for a crossing in the area.”