Children and parents to campaign outside school in Wetherby every day

NAWN 1406165AM1. Joanne Hemingway with other parents and thier children  outside St. James School.(1406165AM1)
NAWN 1406165AM1. Joanne Hemingway with other parents and thier children outside St. James School.(1406165AM1)

Children and parents at Wetherby St James Primary School are campaigning every day outside the school gates, hoping to get cars to slow down and abide by the 20mph speed limit.

The group launched their campaign this week, standing by the side of the school with signs and wearing high-vis vests to attract attention.

One of the parents, Joanne Hemingway, presented a petition on the issue of speeding cars to the town council last week with a view to lobbying Leeds City Council (LCC) on getting a pedestrian crossing.

Ms Hemingway said: “There is a 20mph speed limit there already but it is not being followed. People are flying down as fast as they can because they see people waiting in traffic so what they are doing is speeding and they have got nowhere else to go.

“The way the traffic is coming down, something has got to be done. We have to do something different so now we have decided to use the children with signs they made and Monday was the first day.

“Cars fly down there and come to an emergency stop. On Friday nobody could move except by getting up onto the path. It is unbelievable they even think that is acceptable.

“We will definitely be there every day until something is done. If our lollipop lady, with her wits about her, can be nearly hit it wouldn’t take much for it to be a child.”

As school was starting yesterday, the campaigners were joined by PC Driscoll who used a speed gun to measure the number of cars over the limit.

Ms Hemingway said he stopped at least seven cars in 20 minutes that were doing around 26mph, and the police said they are paying close attention to this.

Inspector Paul Dwyer, of Wetherby Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We take concerns of this nature very seriously. We work with the schools, residents and ward councillors in our area to address road safety issues and will continue to do all we can to improve the situation, including taking enforcement action as is necessary.”

An LCC spokesman assured parents that a survey of the area would be carried out and that a traffic regulation order would be placed outside the school to enforce zigzag lines already in use.

A spokesman said in response to the campaign: “We have agreed to put measures in place and this is the process we need to go through before we decide what will be appropriate.

“If people are concerned they can email the highways department and form part of the process.”

Speaking on behalf of the campaign group, Ms Hemingway said what is needed to ensure the children’s safety is a highly visible pedestrian crossing.

She said: “The important thing here is the children’s safety. When the children are all across the cars can do what they like, but it is safety in that space of time that is a concern.

“I had to direct traffic myself and get them off the path. I am a parent and I shouldn’t have to do that.

“We will carry this campaign on until the end of the summer term until traffic calming methods are put in place. Should this not be done before the start of the autumn term, we will continue to do so.”

Ward Coun Gerald Wilkinson (Con) said: “I am meeting with highways next week. It is not a short-term fix and will take many months, but it is something I am working on.”

The school’s headteacher Pamela Edwards was not available for comment.