Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, welcomed the positive discussions held yesterday evening on proposals for a new pedestrian crossing outside English Martyrs’ Catholic Primary School on Dee Road.
Alok joined local parent campaigner Emma Simpson-Holland and local councillor Sandra Vickers at a council sub-committee meeting which has been tasked with considering whether to install a crossing on Dee Road.
The council meeting followed a public meeting held last week on Thursday 8 January 2015, during which parents and representatives from English Martyrs’ School and St Michael’s School made clear to the leader of Reading Borough Council that the current road situation was unacceptable.
The council has now agreed to consider proposals for a pedestrian crossing and will report back on 12 March 2015.
Alok is now organising a further meeting in the meantime for the two headteachers and governors at St Michael’s School and English Martyrs’ School to discuss the need for a crossing and the recruitment of a lollipop person with the leader of Reading Borough Council. The meeting will take place on 28 January 2015.
Alok Sharma said: “It has taken a petition signed by nearly one thousand concerned local parents and residents, a public meeting and an intervention by the local Member of Parliament, but the council finally appear to have acknowledged that there may be a need for a school crossing on Dee Road and that is primarily thanks to the tireless work of the brilliant parent campaigner Emma Simpson-Holland.”
Alok continued: “Of course we now have to wait for a decision in March, but I am cautiously optimistic that some progress has been made. In the meantime, I am now arranging a meeting for headteachers and governors at English Martyrs’ School and St Michael’s School with the council to ensure that all of their concerns are listened to and considered.”
Tilehurst councillor Sandra Vickers said: “As both a governor and councillor for English Martyrs’ School I welcome the council’s acknowledgement that there is a problem with road safety in this road. As a caring and responsible council we must put measures in place to alleviate the problem. It is too late to do something once a child or adult is hurt or killed.”
Councillor Vickers continued: “This is not just happening on this road and now that many of our schools are expanding due to increased local demand I think we should as a council make it a priority to look at all schools in our area and make sure there is adequate crossings and road islands, together with visible flashing signage, at all our schools.”
Emma Simpson-Holland said: “I think the meeting went well and I am obviously pleased that the council has agreed to do an assessment and did not just throw it out. There is huge public support for a crossing, which is absolutely essential for the safety of our children and I hope that the council make the right decision in March. We have waited long enough for this crossing and cannot wait for a tragedy to happen.”