School run mums risk their children’s lives after council refuses to cut hedge


Parents from an estate in Roundswell, North Devon, are fear the worst as high hedges – which are protected – block their view of oncoming traffic on their school run

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Dangerous crossing at Old Bideford Road, Roundswell

School-run mums are risking their lives walking into traffic as the council refuses to cut down a hedge.

Parents from an estate in Roundswell, North Devon, are forced to blindly walk into the road while taking their kids to school as they only have access to one crossing.

The residents have complained the high hedges are putting themselves and their children’s lives at risk.

North Devon District Council have refused to remove them because they are protected, DevonLive reports.

Drivers are also unable to see the crossing because of the hedges, increasing the risk they could hit residents who walk across the road.

Parents in North Devon are having to blindly walk into traffic as they take their children to school
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Parents use the route to take their children to Roundswell Community Primary Academy.

Amber uses the dangerous crossing with her two children, aged four and 18 when she travels to and from the school.

She says she’s had to wait five to 10 minutes to cross because of safety concerns.

She said: “I have to literally stand in the middle of the road to see if there is any traffic coming so I can let my children across. It’s shocking, really.

Residents of Glenwood Park, Roundswell, only have access to one crossing
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“Some parents have quite large prams, so you have to stand with your baby slightly in the road to look for cars. The cars are coming up so quick that you have to quickly pull them out of the way.

“It only takes one of those kids to go out onto the road and you wouldn’t be able to stop them. That side of Redrow comes onto a downhill, so if your child is on a pushbike, it can be hard to stop them or keep them still sometimes.

High hedges mean that spotting the crossing can be impossible when driving on Old Bideford Road
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“If somebody did get hit, at least a zebra crossing would mean more of a borderline of who was responsible. At the moment, it would be a question of whether somebody just walked into the road or if a car was going too fast. It would be our word against theirs.”

The road leads towards a landfill site, which means the roundabout is used by large lorries that sometimes travel at high speeds, residents have said.

Another parent says she’s put off doing the school run because of the safety risks.

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Danielle Manley said: “As you can imagine this is very stressful and worrying with young children. We’re all very concerned about it and it puts us off of walking, which is a shame being so close to the school. The children enjoy walking or scooting but it’s just not safe.

“There’s no speed bumps or other measures in place to slow vehicles. There are also no signs along any of these roads warning of school children crossing, with no safe proper crossing places for us.

“This problem is it’s only going to get worse and more hazardous, with more housing being built and as the school fills up with more children.”

Another parent said: “Our daily walk to and from the school is dangerous. There is a crossing but as no cars will ever stop for you, we end up being stuck on a very small island with a pushchair and a 4-year-old, with cars going fairly fast on either side of us.

“It’s only a matter of time before there is an accident. I just hope it’s not fatal.”

Roundswell Community Primary Academy was completed last year and was aimed at reducing the number of families driving to school.

However, because of the crossing, many residents are driving their children the half-mile route to get to the school.

Frank Biederman, county councillor for Fremington Rural, tried to address the issue by reducing the speed limit on the roundabout to 20mph.

He said he’s been working for 18 months as he warned there will be an incident if the crossing isn’t made safer.

Cllr Biederman said: “It is so dangerous and somebody will die if we don’t take action. You’ve got a situation where mum comes to the junction and tells her children to stay there. She walks into the middle of the road, then looks to see if it’s safe and beckons children across.”

He added: “I think it’s Devon County Council’s fault. It’s not the developer – they’ve completed the scheme exactly as we wanted them to do it. The problem is we made a mistake and it’s not safe

“The other bizarre thing is I asked about a toucan crossing there, or a zebra crossing, so the traffic would stop to let people cross but it’s too close to the junction to allow it. We’ve got drop curbs that they’ve been encouraged to cross, and now they’ve been told not to.”

Councillors voted unanimously to approve a site visit to the roundabout.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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