Parents angry as pedestrian access to school is closed

Parents fear their children’s lives are being put at risk after a pedestrian entrance to their school was closed.

Due to health and safety reasons, parents are no longer able to access Blyth’s Horton Grange Primary School from Tynedale Drive and are now having to use the gates in Cowpen Road.

Horton Grange Primary School where parents and children have been prevented from using the gate off Tynedale Drive to access the school.  GM023253

Horton Grange Primary School where parents and children have been prevented from using the gate off Tynedale Drive to access the school. GM023253

But parents have spoken out against the decision to close the gate, which was made due to cracks in the path.

Paula Coulson, who has a four-year-old at the school, said: “It’s an absolute disgrace what they have done and seems to me like they aren’t taking our views into consideration.

“Horton Grange has locked the green gate which we normally use to gain safe access into the school.

“They have not told us how long this will be for or if anything is being done about it being re-opened.

“It is totally unsafe when the road is so busy, often people are having to walk on the main road just to get round the corner.

“We would like gate to be re-opened at the top of the original path and allow us as parents to decide whether to use it with our children.

“The cracks have been in the path since when I was at school, it’s nothing new.

“There is going to be a kid hit by a car if this continues.”

The school’s start time has been extended by ten minutes to allow parents to stagger entry, but some say this has yet to alleviate the problem.

Claire Hodgetts, who has three children at the school, said: “I don’t see why they can’t open the gate and just say we enter at our own risk.

“I have just started letting my older kids go to school by themselves, but I can’t now, the road is too congested and it’s too dangerous.

“It is an absolute disgrace.”

Another parent, who has two children at the school, added: “There are no barriers along a large section of the road, and the path is too small for pushchairs, bikes, scooters – something is going to happen if this is not resolved.”

Ward councillor Grant Davey said: “It came as a surprise when the school decided to close the section of land and it’s clearly created a problem for children making their way to school.

“The first priority should always be the safety of children, and effectively forcing them to make their way to school along a busy Cowpen Road is exposing them to more risk than is necessary.

“I’d urge the school and its governors to reconsider its decision to close off access and I would be happy to mediate discussions between the authority and school to resolve this matter as speedily as possible.”

Paul Moffat, corporate director of children’s services, said: “Northumberland County Council has visited the property and the footpath available from Tynedale Drive was closed because of health and safety reasons.

“We are investigating the matter but can reassure parents that this will be looked at as a matter of urgency.”