A UTTOXETER head teacher has spoken of his delight that a footpath that will allow pupils to avoid a dangerous road on their walk to school is being built.
Uttoxeter Mayor and borough councillor Martin Blencowe proposed that a footpath be built to connect Bramshall Road with the ‘Birdlands’ area of the town back in 2009.
The path would run from the gate at Oldfields Hall Middle School in Stone Road, down through the field over part of Bramshall Park to link up with the footpath running alongside the Picknall Brook.
Councillor Blencowe said: “It allows children from Oldfields to walk from Birdlands and not have to use the very narrow footpaths to the side of Stone Road above the zebra crossing.
“I eventually got the agreement of Staffordshire County Council and East Staffordshire Borough Council and work is now partially complete.
“It does rely on some volunteer input via footpath teams from county and they have been really helpful.
“Both the head of Oldfields and the governors at Picknalls First School are keen to see it finished, as of course am I.
“The help and good will of so many has been really good in getting the project this far and I am sure it will be well used when complete.”
The walk to school via Stone Road has long been a cause of concern with so many schools in the same area.
Those concerns were heightened back in 2007 when a pupil from Oldfields was knocked down by a car in Stone Road en route from school – thankfully she survived to tell the tale.
Oldfields head teacher Nick Brown told the Advertiser that the footpath was a ‘great idea’.
He said: “The road that the children have to walk down currently is very narrow and it can become really crowded on the journey to and from school.
“What this footpath will do is alleviate the need for the children to use that route and it will also be quicker for them.
“We have asked for years and years for something like this to be put in place and I congratulate Councillor Blencowe for helping it come to fruition.”
Mr Brown has campaigned, along with other schools in the area, for drivers to cut their speeds on Stone Road following the incident where his pupil was knocked down.
He said the footpath should make the walk to school much safer for both pupils and drivers.
He said: “It is not just children from this school that will see the benefits from this scheme but also those from schools like St Josephs and Windsor Park.
“There are a lot of children who live up around Balance Hill as there are hundreds of houses there and lots of children.
“This will make it so much safer down Stone Road for drivers as well.
“There have been a few accidents down there, including the one where a child from this school was hit by a car in Stone Road.
“It was not the driver’s fault as the girl had run out into the road but it was very distressing for everyone.
“I think this is a great idea and I look forward to it being completed.”