A WASH Common woman has highlighted the dangers for children walking to school from any likely road-widening scheme, in line with a proposed new western junction for the Sandleford Park development.
Julie Knapman has raised the concerns after accidents involving two cars which have left the Andover Road this year, including one on February 7 and more recently, on December 8, in which a vehicle left the road and crashed through a garden wall.
Both incidents happened close to a stretch of the road where grass verges could be removed to make way for a new access at the Warren Road junction – proposed to form the new western access to the Sandleford Park development.
Many schoolchildren who walked to school along the route would be left “vulnerable”, said Ms Knapman, who is pressing for a safety audit to be carried out along the road.
Pupils walking along the route include those attending Park House secondary, Falkland Primary and St George’s pre-school, plus others walking to St Bartholomew’s School in Newbury.
“On this stretch of the Andover Road there have been three reported accidents between 2012 and December 2015 and a fatality in 2000,” said Ms Knapman, a spokesperson for the Wash Common Action Group.
“Then there are the two cars which left the road this year. There are daily near misses involving the school kids.”
In addition, two new schools were likely to be built in the area, as part of the proposed Sandleford Park housing development, increasing the amount of children walking along the road.
West Berkshire Council spokesman, Martin Dunscombe, said a planning application for Warren Road was approved in 2014 for a 4.8m road and 1.5m footway serving around 100 houses.
“If Sandleford goes ahead that [application] will need to be upgraded further,” said Mr Dunscombe.
“No decisions have been made about Andover Road as no detailed proposals have been submitted for that junction so it is too early to say yet what the impact on verges, speed cameras and other fixtures would be.”
The lack of a detailed plan was one reason the council’s highways team had responded to the Sandleford consultation, recommending the application be refused he said.
There had been no recordable injury-related road traffic accidents along the A343 Andover Road (south of Monks Lane) since 2014, he added.
“The incident on December 8 was not a highways safety issue,” he said.
A spokesperson for Richard Benyon’s office said the Newbury MP had been consulted on the issue via a group email and was following the matter, but it was a local authority decision.