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Road Safety at Loughview Primary School

17 October, 2007

After speaking in the Assembly chamber during a debate on the issue of Road Safety at Loughview Primary School Alex Maskey MLA has said that he is hopeful for progress.

During the debate Mr Maskey had said:

"I commend the parents and the representatives of the school who have long been determined to raise the issue of traffic management around the school, bearing in mind the danger to the children.

There is a chaotic traffic situation in close proximity to Loughview Integrated Primary School, and the Learning Tree day-care facility and the Young Ones nursery are alongside the primary school, and Leadhill Primary School is only slightly further down the road.

Within that small geographical area, are three speed-limit zones: 60mph; 40mph; and 30mph. The Member for South Belfast Councillor Spratt has hit the nail on the head. Representatives of all parties on Castlereagh Borough Council, other elected representatives, the school principal, representatives from the school, and the board of governors have been campaigning for a long time for effective traffic-management provisions at that school. Very often, elected representatives and others are frustrated at the length of time that it takes for decisions of this nature to be taken. I do not wish to rehearse the arguments that have been made, because they have been well put, but there is a danger to the children of that school.

The turning circle at the school facilitates only about 50 or 60 cars and, as has already been pointed out, the school and the two facilities beside it are growing fast, with increasing enrolments. That is good and should be encouraged.

Speaking directly to the DRD Minister, Alex Maskey said:

"Will the Minister have the Department consider restricting the speed limit around the school to 20 or 30 miles per hour, perhaps on a part-time basis when the children are coming and going? Will the Minister also consider the provision of a footpath outside the school?

Will the Minister also have his officials broker further measures? The school is adjoined on either side by two nurseries, so walkways could be established that might ease pedestrian traffic throughout the day. Those are three simple measures.

Flashing pedestrian lights were installed on the road after previous representations were made, but they have either not been working, or they have been covered. Why have those lights not been repaired? Why do the school and elected representatives persistently have to make representations to have those matters addressed?

I thank the Minister for being in the Chamber this afternoon, and I look forward to hearing his response to long-standing basic demands from the parents and representatives of the area for reasonable speed limits and traffic-management measures to be established around the school to ensure the children's safety."

Speaking afterwards Mr Maskey added:

"I welcome the opportunity to raise such an important issue in the Assembly today. It was also heartening to hear the MLAs for South Belfast debating and agreeing on this issue which at the end of the day is about the safety of school children in our constituency.

I am hopeful that with such a strong lobby the Minister, Conor Murphy, will immediately instruct his department to begin implementing the suggestions which have been made to him both in the chamber today and in recent correspondence from parents and elected representatives in South Belfast." ENDS

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