Is lollipop lady enough to make dangerous junction in Berkhamsted safe for school children?

Road safety concerns at junction of Kings Road/Shootersway/Kingshill Way, Berkhamsted.
Road safety concerns at junction of Kings Road/Shootersway/Kingshill Way, Berkhamsted.

A lollipop lady could be helping children get to and from Ashlyns School across a dangerous junction in time for the next academic year.

But members of Berkhamsted Town Council’s transport and environment committee said at a recent meeting that Herts Highways were going to make her stand in the wrong place.

They said that at the moment, most children cross in the Kings Road part of the junction between that street, Shootersway and Kingshill Way.

But under the new plans, she will be stationed in Kingshill Way – a road where there are very few houses.

In fact, to reach the crossing children would have to cross parallel street Shootersway at a point where there is no crossing, then walk to her and cross again.

There are far more houses on the opposite side of Kings Road to Ashlyns School and therefore far more children cross across that street. She should stand there instead, committee members said.

Councillor Garrick Stevens said: “We have been very concerned about this junction for quite a long time – over 10 years.” It has only just been added to a County Hall plan of action on road improvements.

Herts Highways officer Martin Sears said that ‘no large pot of money’ was put to one side for roads improvements when Berkhamsted schools switched from being three to two-tier.

He admitted that the authority had been ‘reactive’ rather than ‘proactive’.

Ashlyns has had to accept 600 extra pupils since becoming a secondary school in September, and they are all aged 11 to 13.

New traffic lights at the junction will cost £350,000. Herts Highways hopes to fund them with S106 money – which a developer pays in return for being allowed to build lots of homes. The lollipop lady would be a temporary fix for up to two years alongside other road improvements until the lights can be installed, the meeting heard.

But Councillor Elaine Collins said it is ‘totally unacceptable’ that permanent safety improvements are not being made a priority.

She said: “Protecting our children is something we should have to do as a society – and here we are saying that we do not. It’s appalling.”