Calls for road safety measures at Shoreham school after boy hurt in collision with van
The mum of a ten-year-old boy, who was involved in a collision with a van outside his school, has said it was an ‘accident waiting to happen’.
Gabe Turner suffered minor injuries after the incident which happened as he left Swiss Gardens Primary School in Shoreham-by-Sea.
His mum, Emma, said: “The medics were really surprised with how lightly he got off in the circumstances.
“It’s been an accident waiting to happen, with lots of near misses so regularly.
“It’s a massive concern. It’s such a dangerous stretch when you are trying to build your children’s confidence and independence.
“He was shocked on the day. He was pale and lost his entire colour but didn’t cry at all. He’s been very stoic and brave.
“He’s really keen to keep walking to school with his friend, who was lucky not to be struck.
“He knows how lucky he was and I hope it keeps him alert.”
Emma said something needs to be done to reduce the level of traffic, adding that it was a problem ‘exacerbated by pandemic’.
“It was absolute mayhem with people trying to keep apart and not get hit by cars,” she said. “It was absolutely terrible.”
Melita Ogden, who chairs the parent–teacher association (PTA), has led calls for action to be taken, to improve road safety.
She said cars ‘regularly’ reverse onto the narrow pavements, forcing children and parents with buggies to move out the way.
She also pointed towards another recent incident, where a boy on his bike was ‘run off the road’ and left with cuts and bruises.
“I’ve not seen any evidence of this road being made safer, if anything it’s worse than ever and now the inevitable has happened,” she said
“It’s clear this road being open at pick-up and drop-off times to buses, vans, lorries and cars simply creates a daily risk.
“It’s literally terrifying. Next time, it could be a life-changing incident.”
Melita also urged parents to behave more responsibly following a number of ‘road rage’ incidents.
School headteacher Lawrence Caughlin said: “We want to be proactive and encourage locals to be more considerate (parking) and careful (driving).
“We are also looking for West Sussex County Council to make improvements to ensure, as much as possible, that all our parents, carers and children can safely go to and from school.”
‘This is an awful situation’
Catherine Fuller, speaking on behalf of the local residents, said it is a ‘toxic combination’ of parking and people trying to walk across the road on a bus route.
She added: “It is traffic trying to get in one direction on a blind corner.
“The worst part is the road rage it causes. It’s massively unsafe.
“It’s also unpleasant for residents to live on the street. Every time we get a delivery, I will say don’t come at school times. We are planning our life around school times.”
Buckingham Ward councillor Kevin Boram, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, has written to his counterparts for education and roads & infrastructure and the director of education, ‘demanding an immediate review’ of the road and a solution ‘as quickly as possible’.
He added: “This is an awful situation and I believe preventable. I will be fully involved in future steps taken to make the school environment safer.
“I am fully aware that roads have got busier, and in some instances faster due to the works on the A27 and A259 and will continue to do so with the ongoing redevelopment of Shoreham Harbour. I will continue to demand a comprehensive review.”
West Sussex County Council said it would be ‘happy to work with the school’ to ‘see if any improvements can be made’.
A spokesperson added: “Safety is of paramount importance to us and we are always concerned to hear of any accident.
“We would add our plea to people to please be considerate and careful when parking and driving, particularly near schools.”
Adur District Council said it is in ‘regular contact’ with the county council to ‘ensure vehicles park safely outside schools’.
“Our parking enforcement contractors regularly visit all schools across the area, as well as responding to concerns raised directly,” a spokesman said.
“Our teams reported no parking contraventions on the most recent visit to Swiss Gardens.”