THE Roads Service has been warned that lives could be lost unless new road safety measures are introduced at Derryhale Primary School.
The school has been fighting a five-year campaign to have improvements carried out, with principal Joan McMenemy warning that there could be a fatality.
Staff, parents and the school’s board of governors have been lobbying the Roads Service about several issues, including reducing the speed limit from 40mph and cutting back a hedgerow that has been reducing visibility for motorists.
Upper Bann MP David Simpson has taken up the case on behalf of the school and the hedgerow has recently been cut back following requests.
However, he stressed that much remains to be done to improve safety.
He said, “Derryhale Primary School has been fighting a five year campaign to resolve very real concerns around a number of road safety issues.
“Among these have been that the school is situated in a 40mph zone, set on a bend with inadequate parking within the school at a point where the hedgerow is frequently in need of cutting back.
“I am pleased that the hedgerow has now been cut back in order to improve visibility. I have also been pressing for the introduction of a part-time 20mph limit for school times to improve road safety for parents and pupils. This is now subject to advanced discussions within DRD Roads Service. I would want to call for a quick and positive decision on this.”
Mr Simpson has also asked for the school sign to be moved further back from the school site in order to give an earlier warning to oncoming drivers.
He added, “Derryhale PS has applied through the safer routes to school programme for flashing lights, but budgetary constraints have prevented this. I will continue to fight for this as the safety of school children must be paramount.
“This has been a very long and torturous road for Derryhale PS. We have now begun to see a little movement which is welcome. I will continue to keep up the pressure.”
Mrs McMenemy expressed her appreciation to Mr Simpson for his help in seeking to find a solution.
She said, “Our ultimate priority as a school is the safety of the pupils in our care. It is imperative that a solution is found before a fatality occurs.”