Thursday, 20 March 2008

Road stays open

As part of the plans for the new £6.5million North Road Primary School, Pendleton Road South, which is already closed to through vehicular traffic, was proposed to be closed to pedestrians and cyclists too, and paved over, so that pupils would have direct access from the school to their playing fields across the road. The photo shows me on the cycle route along Pendleton Road South.
However, school planners came up against the immovable objects of the disability and cycling interests.
At a meeting in the Town Hall last week, Gordon Pybus, spokesman for the disabled in Darlington, proved himself a doughty negotiator in insisting on the rights of the disabled to use the road without having to detour around the new school playing fields. At the same meeting, officers responsible for cycling provision within the town also argued strongly for road to remain open, since it is part of a direct cycle route running parallel to North Road.
Last night, at a meeting of North Road School Governors, the Head announced that, given the need to move ahead quickly in order to meet deadline for submitting a planning application, it had been decided to replace the road with a cycle and pedestrian path directly along the route of Pendleton Road. The path will have to be fenced in to maintain the security of the school site. Pupils will have to pass through two locked gates and over the new path to get to and from the playing fields.
The end result represents a success for the pedestrian, disabled and cyclist users of the road. The Governors were upset at this decision and voted by a majority to write to the Council expressing their disquiet at the decision.

1 comment:

miketually said...

That seems a real shame, given the proximity of the Riverside Path for anyone wanting an off-road route and of North Road for those wanting an on-road route.

That would have meant taking space away from cars to make North Road safe for cyclists and heaven forbid we should do that; it's not like we're a Cycling Demonstration Town or anything. Besides, it's much easier to make life harder for kids than for motorists.