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Campaigners spell out fears over traffic

PUBLISHED: 14:13 08 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 July 2010

MOTORISTS were held up in traffic in Pakefield as campaigners, fighting plans for a new high school in that location took to the streets to show the impact the extra staff and pupils would have on traffic congestion.

MOTORISTS were held up in traffic in Pakefield as campaigners, fighting plans for a new high school in that location took to the streets to show the impact the extra staff and pupils would have on traffic congestion.

Pakefield Middle School has been identified by Suffolk County Council as the best place for a fourth high school for the town.

But parents and residents group ERASE (Enraged Residents Against School Expansion) claim that the Kilbourn Road site is too small for a new school and that more pupils will worsen traffic problems in the area.

On Wednesday they staged a protest at the two main roundabouts at both ends of Bloodmoor Road by pressing the buttons on pedestrian crossings to show the effect that more children travelling to the school would have on the flow of traffic.

Pakefield Middle currently has about 800 pupils, but the expanded high school site would see numbers increase to 1,320 with a number of extra staff - a capacity which the campaigners say the site and approaching roads will not be able to cope with.

The county council has proposed that a new entrance to the school will be built off the A12 at the Pakefield end of Bloodmoor Road.

ERASE member Georgina Macleod-Thorpe said: “The children of Lowestoft deserve a brand new school which can take them through to 2025 and beyond. We're not against the school - we're very passionate about education. It is the road safety issue which we are concerned about, the safety of both the children and their parents. We need action now, not when a child's or an adult's life has been taken.”

Fellow campaigner Sally Jermyn added: “I would like to thank the residents of Pakefield who turned out. I would also like to thank the motorists who waved and tooted their horns in support of the protest and even those motorists who shouted and waved in not such a friendly manner to protesters because in doing this they highlighted the very issues that the protest set out to demonstrate.”

Phil Whiffing, lead officer for Suffolk's school organisation review, said that members of the county council's cabinet had all the necessary information about the location of the secondary schools when they agreed to go ahead with changes to a two-tier education system.

He said: “Issues relating to the safety of young people, parents and staff are always at the forefront of our minds and will be given high priority through the detailed planning stages.

“Local people will have opportunities to comment on plans relating to the new school as part of the normal planning process.”

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