Uckfield town councillors are considering whether to allow an access from Victoria Pleasure Ground to St Philip’s Primary School to be made permanent.
The entrance was created to form a safe route into the school while new homes were built on the St Michael’s Convent site.
In March the school asked whether the access could be made permanent as a way of maintaining the safest access route to the school for pupils.
Councillors decided to extend the current permission for a further six months providing the gates were locked and secured out of school hours. They also said a survey should be undertaken to establish user locations.
Now that the six months is up a report to the environment and leisure committee, which meets tonight, says policy is not to allow accesses to be created onto town council land but in March some members felt the current situation “was much safer for children”.
Others said the new road through the development had yet to be completed and it was too soon to grant permanent permission for the footpath. They wanted time to monitor how the system worked.
No further correspondence has been received from the school but a variety of comments have been received about the access.
Councillors are being asked to consider those points and make a decision about whether it should be made permanent.
Points made include:
- The access has increased the use of the top section of Old Timbers Lane by parents and children on foot.
- It is unsafe for parents walking with children around a blind bend to reach the pleasure ground entrance. A mirror on the bend would help reduce the risk but not eliminate it.
- Parking at Victoria Pleasure Ground reduces congestion for the school but it is not factual to say it is reducing risk for the students.
- College Place residents support wishes of the school to keep the gate open. They say it could be dangerous for children to walk down Old Timbers Lane on their own.
- Concern that some parents would use College Place Road to drop off their children which could cause additional problems.
The report to the environment and leisure committee says that since comments were received a mirror has been sited on the bend at the top of Old Timbers Lane to assist visibility.
A survey of 42 access users showed that 33.3% had travelled from outside Uckfield; 19% from Ridgewood and south of the town; 16.7% from residential areas near to and opposite the school; 11.9% from the town centre; 9.5% from Manor Park; 7.1% from Rocks Park and 2.4% from Ringles Cross.
About 70% had travelled nought to two miles while nearly five per cent had travelled ten or more miles.
More than 70% drove a car or van to the school to pick up or drop off their children. Nearly a quarter travelled on foot.
Only 28 of the 42 people who took part in the survey responded to a question about where they parked. Of them nearly 80% usually parked on the eastern side of the Victoria Pleasure Ground car park. The remainder parked outside the front of the school or alongside the school.
Answers about the length of time people parked varied from more than 50% of people saying nought to ten minutes and nearly six per cent saying more than 30 minutes.