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Anger as County rejects safe route to school appeal

December 15, 2018 2:16 PM

According to Hampshire it is safe for dozens of children to
be walked from Ancells to school every day, crossing the
entrance to Fleet Railway Station and coping with all the
other dangers found along the way.
On Wednesday 21 November three County Councillors from Fareham and
Gosport walked from Ancells to Fleet Infant and Velmead Junior Schools to
assess whether the walking route is safe.
They set off at 7.39am and arrived at the schools at 8.49am - a journey of
an hour and ten minutes, during which a sleet storm drenched everyone.
They were accompanied by two parents, each with one child in a buggy and
another child walking, and by local Lib Dem County Councillor Adrian Collett.
Along the way many dangers were pointed out, including getting across
Cove Road, jostling with hard-pressed commuters walking up to Fleet
Station, coping with the really steep slope down the other side and then
getting across the entrances to the station and then the industrial estate.
It was pointed out that many cars do not indicate which way they are going,
or indicate wrongly, and that commuters are often in a rush to catch their
trains. Trains will not wait if the commuter is held up on the way.
At the meeting which followed, the parents reminded the three councillors
who formed the appeal panel of what they had seen and Adrian Collett
spoke to support what the parents had said. Adrian was not allowed to be
on the panel, being the local county councillor for Ancells.
After hearing all the evidence, the three councillors (2 Con, 1 Lib Dem)
retired to another room to consider what they had heard and there they
voted 2 to 1 to reject the appeal.

Fleet Town Cllr Peter Wildsmith said:
"This decision was clearly political. If the
councillors had said that the route is not
safe the County Council would have to
continue providing buses for all Ancells
children and they would not be able to cut
the transport budget in the way they want.
"It is shameful that they are prepared to
gamble with children's safety in this way!
The reality, of course, is that many parents
will be forced to drive their children to
school, adding to the congestion on Minley
Road, Fleet Road, Kings Road and Velmead
Road, particularly where traffic queues at
traffic lights and junctions.
"Worst of all, the congestion outside the
schools will get much worse than it is now.
Hampshire Tories should hang their heads
in shame!"