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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Headteacher's concern over plans to bus pupils over Honister Pass

A headteacher says he is concerned over plans to bus schoolchildren over Honister Pass.

Honister Pass   photo
Honister Pass

Pupils at Borrowdale Primary School will be affected from this afternoon, after Cumbria County Council announced an emergency road closure.

The main road into Borrowdale from Keswick has begun to collapse, making it too unsafe to allow traffic on it. While the repairs are carried out, parents are being told that their children will be taken from Keswick to the school by bus.

Ralf Smits, headteacher at Borrowdale School, said he was against the plan for children to come to school via the Honister Pass by minibus, a detour which could add up to an hour to some journeys.

“I do know that road quite well,” he said. “It would be easier if parents were to use some of the alternative routes in their own cars.”

Mr Smits also claims that the council did not officially inform him – and that he had instead found out from parents.

He added: “I would have liked to have heard from highways, I’m being surprised by parents with information when it should have come from somewhere official.”

The B5289, which skirts along the east of Derwentwater and is the main access road for communities including Grange, Rosthwaite and Seatoller, will be closed both ways at the point where the side road climbs up to Watendlath from 10am today.

Council workers had been attempting to carry out £60,000 worth of repairs on a retaining wall beside the road, with plans to close just one lane to traffic.

However as work began, the saturated foundations of the road began to fall away, making it unsafe to keep even one lane open to vehicles. Pedestrians and dismounted cyclists and horseriders will be able to pass through while work is ongoing.

Councillor Keith Little, the council’s cabinet member for highways, said: “We appreciate that this is a popular road and its full closure will be inconvenient for those who rely on it.

“We did all we could to keep one lane open but now know that this cannot be done safely.

“We will pull out all the stops to get the work done as soon as we can and keep our fingers crossed that the weather will be kind.”

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