Chichester parents battle to keep their children safe from traffic

Sue Walters and Vicki Brown at the Whyke Road crossing
Sue Walters and Vicki Brown at the Whyke Road crossing
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DRIVERS putting children’s lives at risk need to be more aware of the road in front of them, according to mums at a Chichester infants school.

Sue Walters and Vicki Brown have raised the alarm over cars queuing along Whyke Road near to Rumboldswhyke Church of England Infants School.

“Me and my children had a near miss at Christmas with a car speeding along here because they’re trying to get through the gates,” said Sue, who has two children at the school: seven-year-old Jake and five-year-old Vinnie.

Parents at the school handed a petition with more than 500 signatures to West Sussex County Council earlier this year calling for a puffin crossing to be put in on Whyke Road, near to the level crossing, reminding drivers children were trying to cross the road.

Sue and Vicki said the dangers were drivers speeding to reach the level crossing before the gates shut and cars queueing across the current pedestrian crossing as they did not realise it was there.

In addition, they said cars often sped up the outside of the queuing traffic to turn right into Cleveland Road when heading south and did not realise children were crossing.

Signs to warn of the nearby infants school in Whyke Road

Signs to warn of the nearby infants school in Whyke Road

“We’ve tried to highlight these bollards,” said Sue. “Cars coming from a distance, they don’t know this is a crossing.”

Short term, parents want drivers to be aware there are children trying to cross the road and also are hoping someone might apply to be lollypop man or woman for the school. Long term, they would like to see a puffin crossing installed.

“We’re fairly hopeful,” said Sue. “East Wittering got there in the end. Fishbourne school got there in the end. But we know there are a lot of schools across West Sussex and they (crossings) don’t come cheap.”

She went on: “I’ve actually seen parents scream at drivers coming down here to slow down.”

I’ve actually seen parents scream at drivers coming down here to slow down

Sue Walters

The issue of a safer school crossing is key for parents at the school, especially as there was an accident in the road three years ago.

West Sussex County Council response

A spokeswoman from West Sussex County Council said: “The county council is actively exploring the possibility of a crossing in Whyke Road and is investigating a number of factors which will need to be considering before a decision can be made.

“These include the exact location of the crossing, taking into account the nearby railway line and access to private properties. The crossing will also be subject to a public consultation and the availability of funding. We will share any updates with the school community as soon as they are known.”

Sue Walters and Vicki Brown at the Whyke Road crossing

Sue Walters and Vicki Brown at the Whyke Road crossing

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