Kids’ lives at risk

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LIVES are being put at risk due to lack of parking facilities at a local primary school, it’s been claimed.

Lack of drop-off facilities at Donaghcloney Primary School mean that before and after school Baird Avenue is ‘chockablock’ with traffic.

The street where the school is situated doesn’t permit through traffic which leads to regular jams outside the school gates.

On several occasions parents dropping off children in the mornings have parked in residents’ spaces and rendered them ‘housebound’.

Local councillor Mark Baxter said his biggest concern lies with the safety of children.

He said: “This is a very emotive issue in and around the village.

“I have been contacted on numerous occasions not only by residents of the Baird Avenue area but also by concerned parents who genuinely fear for the safety of their children.

“Basically there is no through road and all traffic has to drop off at the school and try and get back on to the Lisnasure Road at peak times. As you can imagine this is problematic as it’s like ‘The Wacky Races’ down there.”

He added: “This also has the knock on effect that residents are sometimes housebound as cars are abandoned wherever there is space available.

“There is land to the front of the school that I’m sure could be utilised in some manner to try and alleviate the problem, but I believe this is not in ownership of the education board. This has been an ongoing problem for years and other attempts at a resolution have failed.

“I have already written to Roads Service and am still awaiting a response. I trust something can be done and done sooner rather than later before we have a tragedy on our hands.”

Donaghcloney Primary School Principal Lynne Nesbitt said: “There’s scope for a layby or roundabout in front of the school to allow traffic to park temporarily or turn. The problem is getting it implemented.”

The ‘MAIL’ understands the issue has been discussed many times amongst the board of governors at Donaghcloney and raised at SELB level, but as yet no solution has been forthcoming, possibly due to financial constraints.

Almost 250 children attend Donaghcloney Primary School and Miss Nesbitt said it was high time something was done to relieve traffic flow at the school.

She commented: “We can’t go on with the present system of one way traffic.

“Our worry is it’s so chockablock that children crossing the road may not be seen as they are smaller than the cars they are crossing between.

“We send regular letters to parents thanking them for their patience and asking for tolerance and care.

“I feel especially sorry for the residents. There’s been occasions where people have parked in residents’ spaces when dropping off or picking up children. Some mornings residents haven’t been able to get out to work because of parked cars.

“When the houses were built there should have been a through road built. Because there’s only one way out all traffic that comes in has to turn and come back again.

“When the bus comes down to drop children off everything comes to a standstill.”