Highwood Copse Primary School parents campaign to reduce A339 speed limit in Newbury from 50mph to 30mph
A group of primary school parents have formed a campaign group to try to get the speed limit of the A339 reduced from 50mph to 30mph.
Highwood Copse Primary School is located south of Newbury College on the west side of the A339 – better known as Newtown Road – and several parents of pupils who attend it are concerned about the lack of traffic measures close to the school.
Most of the concerned families live in the houses on or near to Deadmans Lane and have to cross the busy Newtown Road every day to get to and from school.
They are campaigning to get the speed limit of the road from the Pinchington Lane roundabout to The Swan Inn roundabout reduced to 30mph and West Berkshire Council has agreed to review the current speed limit.
Ash Lord is part of the campaign group. She said: “It is just too busy for 50mph. Our children can’t hear us go ‘stop’.
“It is not encouraging our children to use the roads because some of them are absolutely terrified.
“It is a community school and we should be able to walk to it safely.”
The group also wants more safety railings installed along the pedestrian footpaths, the improvement and installation of more road signs making motorists aware of the school, a lollipop person on duty at school times and several other new measures as well.
They have cited the close proximity of educational centres Highwood Copse, St Gabriel’s and Newbury College – which also contains Busy Bees nursery and The Castle School post-16 facility – as reasons why more traffic calming measures should be introduced.
In response to some of these concerns received from parents a few months ago, West Berkshire Council implemented changes to the traffic lights and pedestrian crossing and installed safety railings to enhance protection in the area.
A council spokesperson said: “The safety and well-being of children remains our number one priority and we are dedicated to making informed decisions that prioritise their welfare.
“We have received a request to reduce the speed limit on this section of the A339 and, while the exact date is pending, we have already agreed to undertake a formal review.
“As part of this review process, we will carry out comprehensive surveys, collaborate closely with the police, engage in dialogue with the school and evaluate the effectiveness of the current safety railings to determine if further enhancements are needed.”
West Berkshire councillor Billy Drummond (Lib Dem, Newbury Greenham) has two grandchildren who attend Highwood Copse and he often takes them to and from school.
He shared many of the concerns of the parents’ group.
He said: “They race down that road trying to get by the lights where it goes down to one lane. It is really quite dangerous if there are any kids around.
“I saw a man do a U-turn the other morning. Three months ago I saw a delivery driver do a right-hand turn into the school and he went right across the lights.
“There’s going to be a bad accident down there one day.”