A 77-year-old Margate resident is so worried for the safety of young pupils and families using a temporary Nash Road entrance to St Gregory’s primary that she has pledged to create her own road signs and put them up along the stretch to the school.
Pat Thompson, who is a committee member on the Salmestone Ward Residents Association says promised safety measures approved by Kent County Council could take up to three months to be installed but action needs to be taken now.
The former social worker says if KCC cannot make the safety of small children a priority then she feels compelled to take matters into her own hands.
The primary school is using the staff entrance for nursery and reception children as part of its Covid-19 social distancing measures.
But the entrance is on Nash Road and Pat, other SWRA members and ward councillor Pauline Farrance say motorists need to be made aware there are pupils using the entrance.
Cllr Farrance contacted Kent County Council in July to request measures are put in place and a highways officer visited the site.
He proposed additional timber bollards on the grass verge to the left of the school entrance up to the field entrance to stop cars parking on the grass; a yellow SCHOOL KEEP CLEAR zig zag to help keep the entrance clear and also highlight the presence of the school and school warning signs on each approach and possibly some Slow road markings.
But there was a delay getting the order made and the county council says the process could take up to three months.
Pat said: “There is no visibility of the gates for motorists approaching from Westwood Cross and there are no signs indicating there is a school entrance there.
“KCC has approved a lot of work that will make it very safe but they are not making it a priority.
“We have a major problem as a development has been started further up the road so you have massive builders lorries going along there. The whole situation is chaotic.
“The fact that this involves young hildren seems to go over KCC’s heads. They say other jobs are waiting to be done so there is no priority being given to this situation.
“I feel that if I do not kick off about this and a child dies then I would have to live with that and I can’t.
“So I am just going to put up my own ‘Slow down’ and ‘Kill your speed not a child’ signs.”
Cllr Farrance said: “I am working with SWRA and the head of St Gregory’s. This is very alarming, given that people drive quickly down Nash Road and are not used to school drop off and pick ups. The cars parked on the school side of Nash Road mean that visibility is very poor and many residents feel it could be dangerous.
“I first contacted KCC on July 22 and have continually urged the officers to deal with this urgently so that the safety arrangements are in place by September 3. This has involved over 40 emails with KCC. They say that the order went in on August 25 but the process could take up to three months. We don’t think that this is acceptable.”
A Kent County Council spokesman said: “We received a request for ‘safety measures’ on Nash Road in late July following the decision by St Gregory’s primary school to open a second entrance on the road.
“Kent Highways was at the time, and continues to be, under substantial pressure with emergency active travel schemes and crash remedial measures.
“Despite this, we agreed to a site visit and proposed and ordered works.
“It is our opinion that we have responded in a timely manner, particularly at a very busy time for Kent Highways and the extremely limited time given to address a situation brought about by the school’s decision to open another entrance.
“The works could not be ordered straight away as authorisation was required to place signs on the streetlights.
“Our ordering system allows up to three months for works to be delivered to allow for signs to be ordered and delivered, highway permits to be arranged and the works programmed in around other schemes in the county.”