Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Williams has slammed the Conservatives for, he says, wrongly claiming credit over the approval of a new pedestrian crossing on Brook Way.
The row follows a campaign by parents of children at Wheatfield Primary School, who said they found it dangerous getting to the school from Saxon Way and other roads on the west side of Brook Way.
The issue was first raised at a meeting of the Bradley Stoke Safer and Stronger Group in February, where concerned parents complained of the difficulty of crossing Brook Way near the mini-roundabout junction with Wheatfield Drive.
Parents also pointed out that the central refuge at existing crossings were too narrow to accommodate pushchairs and that there were no school warning signs on Brook Way.
Cllr Mark Forsyth (Conservative) shocked the meeting when he suggested that the parents might like to “buy some fluorescent jackets and act as lollipop persons”.
A more constructive response came from Cllr Williams, who offered to work with the parents to see if the school’s Travel Plan could be updated with a view to attracting funding for a new crossing.
Cllr Williams says he subsequently spoke to the school, attended the school’s Travel Plan Committee, arranged for a Highways officer to attend, and encouraged the school to resubmit its Travel Plan.
Plans for a new ‘raised table’ crossing were then put forward to the Southern Brooks Area Forum meeting earlier this month, where the parents and Cllr Williams were succesful in obtaining approval for the estimated £20,000 cost.
But a press release put out after the meeting by South Gloucestershire Conservatives – subtitled “Councillors welcome moves to encourage safer route to school” – has angered Cllr Williams, who says the Tories “do nothing and then claim the credit”.
Cllr Williams told The Journal:
“It appears that the Conservatives are rewriting history again. This time they are claiming credit for getting a new, safer, crossing across Brook Way between Courtlands and Wheatfield Drive. The truth is that it was parents at the school and the school’s Travel Plan Committee who should take the credit.”
“Not once did a Conservative councillor make contact with the school or the parents over this matter and the only thing they did to support the scheme was to vote in favour of Cllr Williams’ proposal to proceed with the scheme at last week’s Area Forum meeting.”
“I’m disgusted that these two councillors have the cheek to claim credit for this crossing. I was the only councillor to support these parents and publicise their plight. I attended two Travel Plan meetings at the school and made sure that officers correctly described the scheme in the paperwork to the Forum last week, so that councillors present were able to make an informed choice.”
“I’m sure local residents will realise before long that it’s the Liberal Democrats that get things done and not the Conservatives, despite their Press releases.”
The new crossing will be installed during the 2010/2011 financial year.
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