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Parents warn of danger after accident at proposed bus route closure footpath

THIS car crash was the shocking scene on Wednesday on a footpath West Berkshire Council has said is safe for pupils to use to walk to school.

As part of a sweeping programme of £10.8m cuts, West Berkshire Council has identified for closure a school bus service from Mortimer to The Willink School in Burghfield Common and suggested that pupils instead use the footpath pictured above at Goring Lane.

The proposal is one of five routes earmarked for closure – the other schools affected are Chieveley, Shefford and Aldermaston primary schools and Thatcham’s Kennet School.

A campaign group – Save Our Buses – was launched in an effort to fight the closure of The Willink School’s route which campaigners say would force 233 Mortimer children to walk along unlit footpaths next to roads with 60mph speed limits.

On Wednesday morning, an accident at Goring Lane sent one car ploughing on to the footpath which would be used by the school children, and campaigners have warned that this is just the beginning if the council presses on with the proposed closure.

Gina Blackie from Save Our Buses said: “Here is proof if you needed more of the dangerous, potentially fatal route the West Berks Council is proposing children walk from Mortimer to Burghfield to reach The Willink School.

“It is clearly on the footpath West Berks has assessed as safe for our children to walk.

“Parents know this route is not safe and here is visible proof.

“We have seen this before and we don’t want to see it with our children injured or dead underneath it. Perhaps now the council will really listen to us.”

Campaigner David Kilshaw added: “We have always had concerns that this junction was unsafe.

“This was an accident that was destined to happen. Thankfully there were no pedestrians involved today and no serious injuries.”

In response West Berkshire Council spokesperson Peta-Stoddart Crompton urged people to give their feedback through the consultation process, a process that ends in just four days.

She added: “Our highways assessment always takes account of any accidents over the last three years and the consultation document on our website shows that there had been two in 2013 and two in 2014, none affecting pedestrians.

“We will review our assessment in light of this accident and our findings will be included in the information which is considered by councillors.”



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