Hastings dad fears it’s ‘only a matter of time before child is hit’ on school crossing

Clare Paine and Chris Russell pictured with Joseph Paine, James Russell, Kallum Paine, and Sean Russell. Picture: Justin Lycett
Clare Paine and Chris Russell pictured with Joseph Paine, James Russell, Kallum Paine, and Sean Russell. Picture: Justin Lycett

It is only a matter of time before a child is hit and seriously injured or worse outside a Hastings primary school, according to a concerned parent.

Amanda Frier-Russell was walking her eight-year-old twins home from Robsack Wood Primary on November 14 when one of her sons narrowly escaped being hit by a car at the crossing in nearby Church Wood Drive.

The Church Wood Drive crossing. Picture: Justin Lycett

The Church Wood Drive crossing. Picture: Justin Lycett

She said half of the crossing island – the only one in the road – was full of mud which meant one of her sons, who is autistic, jumped over a puddle.

Luckily, Mrs Frier-Russell had hold of her son’s backpack and was able to pull him back to the crossing island before a car passed, narrowly missing both her and her sons.

After the incident, she and her husband Christopher Russell wrote to East Sussex County Council to request the installation of a safer crossing point in Church Wood Drive.

Mr Russell wrote: “The approach to this crossing is dangerous due to the poorly maintained trees blocking the view for pedestrians.

“The crossing itself is poorly lit, too narrow and poorly maintained. It fills with water and mud, plant material and other slippery detritus.

“In the winter, this water filled crossing turns to ice and I really don’t think it necessary to point out how dangerous this is.”

Mr Russell said he previously asked the county council to install a sign warning of the crossing, school or children but nothing has yet been installed.

He added: “It is only a matter of time before a child is hit and seriously injured or worse whilst trying to cross this dangerous road unless something is done to improve and make safer the only crossing point provided.”

In response, the county council said the crossing in Church Wood Drive does not meet the criteria to be considered a ‘priority’ for additional road safety measures.

A spokesman said: “Our road safety team has carried out an assessment at this location in response to requests from members of the public for improvements to the pedestrian crossing.

“We only have very limited resources for road safety measures and have to target these resources on areas where the need is greatest. While we do appreciate the concerns of residents, unfortunately this area does not meet the criteria to be considered a priority for additional road safety measures at present.”

However, the county council has arranged for more road safety posters to be put up advising drivers they are entering an area near a school.

The county council hopes to install permanent school warning signs ‘in the near future’.

The spokesman added: “The community may also be able to benefit from the Community Match Scheme, in which the county council can provide up to 50 per cent match funding for schemes which are not a council priority but are important to the community.

More information is available online at www.eastsussexhighways.com/community-match.”

Related stories:

Calls for crossing by St Leonards school amid fears of serious accident