Chaos at new school
A BLUNDER by highway chiefs led to chaos outside Littleport s new school when a free for all broke out as parents arrived to pick up their children. Highway officers had failed to put road markings outside the school entrance resulting in parents cars
A BLUNDER by highway chiefs led to chaos outside Littleport's new school when a "free for all" broke out as parents arrived to pick up their children.
Highway officers had failed to put road markings outside the school entrance resulting in parents' cars blocking the gateway and driveways.
A police officer had to be despatched to regain control and a nearby resident volunteered for traffic duty after the opening of the new school last Thursday led to a catalogue of spin-off problems.
* Drivers ignored the Littleport Community Primary School's lollipop crossing patrol and reduced her to tears as she stood in the middle of the road trying to lead pupils to safety.
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* Children coming out of their classrooms were running across the road when railings, designed to protect them, were stolen and not replaced.
* School buses were forced to drop children outside the school because the road was not wide enough to allow them to get into the side entrance.
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Finally, nearby resident, John Warren, of Parsons Lane stepped in and volunteered to put traffic cones outside the school in a bid to ease the situation.
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman admitted there were "teething problems" with the opening of the new school.
But Littleport parish and district councillor, Andy Wright, said the issues should have been addressed before the school opened.
"You would have thought in these days of health and safety a senior officer from the county would have done a full assessment. That was clearly not done.
"They are quick enough to close a school for three millimetres of snow.
After angry parents bombarded headteacher, Lesley Strommen, with complaints, an urgent meeting was called between the school and highways officers in an attempt to find a solution.
One parent, who asked not to be named, said: "The lollipop lady was abused and she was in tears. People were driving past her while she was standing in the middle of the road.
"The children were running straight across the road because there were no railings in front of the entrance to stop them. People were parking all over the place. It was just ridiculous."
Ely Police sector commander Inspector Adam Gallop said "The new school was opened without adequate road signage and markings and there was certainly one chaotic day.
A county council spokesman admitted there were no yellow lines or zig zag markings outside the school.
"These are now being addressed as a matter of urgency," he said.
"The railings outside the school were stolen and we put up temporary ones at the end of last week. A permanent replacement is on order.
"It is highly irresponsible for drivers to drive fast or carelessly past schools at any time of the day but particularly at the beginning or the end," he said.