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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Speed limit cut at Cumbrian school after pupils’ poetic plea

Lower speeds and a crossing are to be installed at two schools after pupils collected a petition to help them feel safe.

School speed protest photo
Pupils from All Saints School in Cockermouth

Pupils at All Saints School in Cockermouth wanted to install 20mph signs on Windmill Lane, Slatefell Drive and the Highfield estate, to try and cut the speed limit and warn drivers of the dangers of driving too fast.

Meanwhile Cockermouth School students Edwin Brown and Callum Pearson put forward their case for a crossing on Castlegate Drive to make it safer for pupils.

Twelve members of All Saints School council presented a poem to the county council’s local committee for Allerdale on Friday highlighting their concerns.

Many of the children walk to school and said they would feel safer if the speed limit was cut.

They collected a 120-name petition and were backed by Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham.

Eric Nicholson, chairman of the local committee, said he was pleased that the children had highlighted the issue.

He said: “Speeding around schools is a great concern and we need to address it. I want to thank all the children for bringing this to our attention and helping us understand the problems near the school.”

He said a programme had already begun to see if there was the potential to place signs on streets around the school and following that would consider the best approach.

Sixthformers at Cockermouth School, Edwin and Callum said the crossing had been needed for a long time especially after the death of a student there a few years ago.

Head boy Edwin and head girl Jessica Singleton campaigned for the crossing after thousands of motorists were caught speeding down Castlegate Drive last year. They were backed by headteacher Geoff Walker.

They said that of the school’s 1,420 pupils at least half walked or cycled to the school and with the building of the new hospital traffic on Castlegate Drive was almost certain to increase.

Callum said: “The building of the new hospital will bring fantastic benefits to the town but it will increase traffic flow and people will be coming into the town from a much larger area.

“We know cars fly down Castlegate Drive and a large number of our children use the cycle path or walk to school.

“We are most concerned about the youngsters as we will have 220 11 year olds crossing the streets on their own. A crossing is something we need for the safety of the pupils.”

Edwin added that they had encouraged more people to use the cycle path and that cars travelling from Embleton were often speeding as they didn’t realise they were coming into a 30mph zone.

Mr Nicholson and fellow councillor Alan Kennon have donated £24,220 between them from money they get to spend on local projects for a toucan crossing to be installed outside the school which can be used by both cyclists and pedestrians.

It is hoped it can be installed before the start of the new school term in September.

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