Minister asked to consider crossing at Ardglass school

Minister asked to consider crossing at Ardglass school

6 October 2021

STORMONT Roads Minister Nichola Mallon has been asked to sanction the provision of a new pelican crossing outside St Nicholas’ Primary School in Ardglass.

The appeal by South Down MLA Colin McGrath and local councillor Dermot Curran comes after they met with staff at the school on the busy Downpatrick Road after a child was recently involved in an accident.

Mr McGrath said the return of children to school and people back to their offices and other places of work as Covid restrictions continue to ease is good news, but brings challenges with it.

He said Ardglass remained a busy area, with new investment at the village marina and many businesses retuning to pre-pandemic strength.

“With that, we need to ensure that St Nicholas’ Primary, which is located adjacent to a busy main road, is a safe area for children and local families,” said Mr McGrath.

“Road safety is everyone’s concern and we all have to do our bit in ensuring our roads are as safe as possible.”

The MLA said the school was educating children about road safety and families were taking necessary steps to keep their children safe. 

“At the same time, drivers need to exercise caution and elected representatives need to work as closely as possible with the Department for Infrastructure to ensure we are delivering on our responsibilities,” McGrath added.

Cllr Curran said the speed of cars passing the school — which has 156 pupils —  was a major concern for staff and parents.

While a new electronic school indicator device has been erected further along the Downpatrick Road at the entrance to Ardglass to remind drivers that they are entering a 30mph zone, Cllr Curran said many are simply ignoring it.

“This is a particularly busy stretch of road and it is important that everything is done to ensure the area in the immediate vicinity of the primary school is safe. A number of children have to cross the road on their way to school and it is essential that it is safe to do so,” he continued.

“A pelican crossing can help achieve that and I hope that the roads minister will look favourably upon my request. This is a critically important issue that must be addressed.”

Cllr Curran said it is his understanding that the recent incident involving a child at the Downpatrick Road “could have been quite serious” and hopes that action will be taken to prevent any kind of repeat.

He said pupils who attend the busy primary range in age from 4 to 11 and in addition to his request to Mrs Mallon, he would be keen to meet meet with roads officials on site.

“It is a very serious situation when drivers are not obeying the speed limit,” declared Cllr Curran.

“A new pelican crossing would require drivers to come to a complete stop to allow children to cross safely..”

Cllr Curran added: “The recent incident involving a child has reinforced the need for a dedicated road crossing and I hope that the Department for Infrastructure will respond positively to my request. The safety of our children is absolutely paramount.”