‘It’s really, really scary’: Parents demand safe crossing for 1,300 kids on school walk
A community is fighting for a safe crossing for 1,300 children outside a primary and secondary school after a decade of campaigning.
The Get Across action group is formed of parents and carers who have campaigned since 2013 to get a safe crossing outside the Prendergast Ladywell primary and secondary schools in Manwood Road, Lewisham.
Yesterday, the group installed a temporary zebra crossing to protest the lack of safe crossing on the street.
Nadim Baba, whose child attends Prendergast primary school and took part in the protest, said: “Every day we have to cross where we can but it isn’t easy.
“The fact that there is no official crossing means you’re trying to spot gaps and cars are going so fast so it’s impossible to gauge and try to help the children to learn how to gauge when it’s safe to cross.
“There’s so many dangerous incidents I’ve seen and it’s really, really scary. We’d like our kids to be able to walk by themselves but at the moment, and I’ve said this to them, there’s no way that I could imagine doing that.”
In 2013, planning permission was granted to build a primary school in Ladywell, next to the existing Pendergast secondary school, on the mandatory condition that a formal crossing was installed prior to any children occupying their new school.
Lewisham council proceeded to open the school in 2014 without a crossing, despite the legal requirement.
In 2016, following pressure from parents, a zebra crossing appeared three roads away from the area in which they had hoped it would be installed.
Parents and school headteachers say they have tried repeatedly to pressure councillors to do something, but following more promises after a public meeting in August 2021 there is still no sign of a safe crossing for the children.
Prendergast Ladywell primary and secondary schools have just under 1,300 children enrolled, and with 27 per cent of the secondary school consisting of children with special educational needs parents say it is time for decisive action.
Vivien Nicholls, headteacher of Prendergast Ladywell primary school, said: “Trying to get those children across Manwood Road is so difficult, it’s really dangerous.
“On many occasions I’ve stood out here myself and I’ve seen cars speeding. I’ve seen children nearly get run over. It’s really, really dangerous. We’ve fought for so long with the local authority to try and get a crossing.
“There’s lots of reasons why we’ve been told it can’t happen but now I think with Get Across we could really make it happen here.”
Lewisham council has been approached for comment.
Pictured top: The Get Across campaign group with schoolchildren and parents outside the Prendergast primary and secondary schools (Picture: Samer Moukarzel)
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