Protest over school path

Peterlee Town councillors Don Milsom and Margaret Milsom with local residents opposite the new foothpath that connects Shotton Hall School and  Durham Way.

Peterlee Town councillors Don Milsom and Margaret Milsom with local residents opposite the new foothpath that connects Shotton Hall School and Durham Way.

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THE creation of a path which will give students access to a revamped school across a residential road is an accident waiting to happen, say residents.

Shotton Hall Secondary School is undergoing a multimillion-pound transformation under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme.

A new pedestrian path from Peterlee’s Durham Way to the school will cause traffic chaos, according to people living nearby.

They say that once open, it will make it almost impossible for motorists to get off the Oakerside Park estate, which is home to about 3,000 people, when parents are picking up and dropping off their children.

Residents say it will be a “nightmare for children trying to cross the road and claim they will be at risk of speeding drivers.

Some motorists have been recorded driving at at least 50mph in the 30mph zone in a police survey.

Locals also say only about 40 households were consulted by Durham County Council about the new path.

But council chiefs say they are looking at the possibility of including a pick-up and drop-off point within the school grounds, just off Passfield Way.

Coun Don Milsom, who represents the Passfield ward on Peterlee Town Council, said: “Durham Way is the only way out of the estate and at 8.30am on a morning there is going to be parents from all the local villages dropping off kids, and 3,000 people who live on the estate trying to get out.”

His wife Margaret, also a Passfield ward councillor, said the traffic problem was already so bad that some residents had come to her saying they were thinking of selling up.

Fred Hardy, a 71-year-old retired training officer and dad-of-two, who lives nearby, said: “There will be a fatality in a short space of time.

“I don’t understand why they have to move the path there in the first place – it’s bedlam.”

David Rowe, a 49-year-old ex-soldier and dad-of-three from Corby Grove, off Durham Way, said: “There is already a problem now with congestion when cars park on Durham Way – when the path opens up it will be a million times worse.

“We are going to have hundreds of children crossing the road and there are no speed restrictions.”

David Theobald, the council’s BSF project director, said: “The development of Shotton Hall School is progressing in accordance with the approved plans, which were the subject of a previous and detailed public consultation.

“The current ongoing site works involve the provision of an additional pedestrian access to Shotton Hall School from Durham Way, which will make it easier for pupils from the Oakerside Park area to reach the school.

“Following continued local concerns about the impact of traffic we are further investigating the possibility of creating a dedicated pick-up and drop-off point for vehicles at the Passfield Way entrance to the school.”