Abingdon schools' expansion plans prompt crossing call

The Oxford Times: Chris Harris Chris Harris

EXPANSION plans by Abingdon School have drawn fresh calls for traffic safety measures.

Abingdon School on Park Road and the School of St Helen & St Katharine, on Faringdon Road, have drawn up plans for new three-storey extensions.

But Abingdon School’s plans also include moving its entrance on Faringdon Road closer to the junction with Bath Street.

Larkmead School headteacher Chris Harris has called for a zebra crossing in front of Abingdon School in the past.

He said: “I talked with the head of Abingdon School (Felicity Lusk) some time ago and she knows that a crossing on Faringdon Road would be helpful.”

Residents have raised concerns about the proposals on the Vale of White Horse District Council website.

Paul and Caroline Johnson wrote: “We would like to encourage the school to work with the local authority to advance plans to put in place traffic-calming measures akin to those adjacent to the other secondary schools and the college, which will discourage through-traffic from using Faringdon Road.

“There are other secondary schools and junior schools within just a few hundred yards of this development.

“These generate considerable local traffic.

“At peak periods, and at other times, Faringdon Road is also used as a bypass to the town centre. As a consequence there is a dangerous mix of fast-moving through- vehicles, local traffic, pedestrians and child cyclists.”

Byron Byrne, who lives at Corner House in Faringdon Road, wrote on the website: “We believe that the entrance at this location will substantially affect the traffic congestion during school hours at the intersection of Faringdon Road, Wootton Road and Bath Street.

“We believe there is insufficient road length from the roundabout to the proposed entrance to prevent traffic build-up that would occur from buses waiting or preparing to enter the entrance from either direction or buses turning across the traffic to enter.”

County councillors Mike and Marilyn Badcock have contributed £25,000 from their area stewardship fund for a new zebra crossing on Spring Road, where it joins Faringdon Road between Abingdon School and Larkmead and St Helen’s.

Mrs Badcock said she hoped that Abingdon School would contribute to any road improvements which were undertaken.

She said: “I looked at that junction with highways officers and we felt that Spring Road was where a crossing was most needed.”

But she added: “It is not that we would not want another one.”

David Dawswell, Abingdon School’s second master, said last night: “We had extensive pre-application discussions with the county highways authority. The  authority has confirmed it has no objections in highway terms.”

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