Wells Road Crossing
Many of you may remember that back in 2017 we launched a very public and successful campaign to save our School Crossing Patrol from the axe. The council acknowledged at the time that the Wells Rd crossing was too dangerous to be left unmanned despite being an engineered crossing. They therefore agreed to not only keep Paul’s position but also replace him on his retirement.
The crossing has remained conspicuously empty since March 2020 and so I have been pursuing the council on the matter. After several months I have this morning finally had the following response from Cllr Don Alexander, Cabinet member for Transport:
Hi Ed and Anna. Thanks for your emails. As you know this site has been vacant for a considerable period of time now. Attempts were made to recruit temporary cover whilst the previous SCP was on long term sick but these were unsuccessful. All SCP sites are reviewed when they become vacant, and it is BCC policy not to site crossing patrols on engineered crossings, therefore now that the SCP for this site has retired we do not intend to appoint a new patrol to this site. Regards, Don
If, like me, you are unimpressed with this response and would like to protest it, may I ask you to email Mr Alexander with your own thoughts? I attach my own response to it below for your reference. His email address is: Cllr.Donald.Alexander@bristol.gov.uk
Ed Plowden, cllr for Windmill Hill ward has come alongside to help and I am awaiting his response and advice on next steps. It may be that we need to swing into action again.
If there is anyone who feels particularly strongly about the issue and would like to help campaign about it in some way please do get in touch with me.
Anna Boulter (y5 parent)
This is a very disappointing response.
Firstly, the attempted recruitment happened as the pandemic was beginning and I’d be interested to know if the truth of the matter is that lockdown meant that the process halted and was never restarted. Paul Whitmell’s retirement date fell in the middle of the first lockdown. Also, you may consider 18 months to be “a considerable period of time” but I’m sure that you can acknowledge that several prolonged school closures and all that the pandemic has brought into our lives makes your point irrelevant.
Secondly, we are well aware that BCC policy is not to site SCP's on engineered crossings. That was the reason given for putting the Wells Rd crossing on the axe list in the first place. I don’t know if you were a member of the council in 2017 but allow me to either remind or inform you that we successfully demonstrated at the time that the Wells Rd crossing is a particularly dangerous one and despite being an engineered crossing an SCP is still vital for the safety or our children. It was because of this that the council agreed to uphold the position and recruit a replacement on Paul Whitmell’s retirement.
I would urge you therefore to look back on any records you may have of the decision that was made at that time and uphold it. Please do not think that the parent community of Hillcrest Primary School will be fobbed off and not notice that the council have reneged on the decision that they made having clearly acknowledged that the Wells Rd is an exception to your policy on SCP’s on engineered crossings. If your review of the Wells Rd SCP had been even remotely thorough you would have understood this and recommenced the recruitment process.
If you refuse to reinstate the SCP we will happily engage in a new campaign.
In the meantime I shall be talking to Ed and Lisa on how we proceed.
From: Councillor Ed Plowden <Cllr.Ed.Plowden@bristol.gov.uk>Date: 23 November 2021 at 20:06:43 GMT To: Councillor Donald Alexander <Cllr.Donald.Alexander@bristol.gov.uk>, Anna Boulter <email@example.com> Cc: Councillor Lisa Stone <Cllr.Lisa.Stone@bristol.gov.uk> Subject: RE: Wells Rd School Crossing Patrol
I am disappointed and slightly confused by your reply. It states both that there were unsuccessful attempts to recruit to this post and that you have now decided to discontinue the post by applying the policy. These are contradictory positions
You may not remember this but there was a substantial outcry from the local community when discontinuing this site was last proposed and in the end the post was continued for two reason – firstly the very strong local feedback and safety concerns, and secondly due to the fact that at this site there is a PV2 (i.e. volume of pedestrians and especially vehicles) that is so high that from memory it is a significant outlier. For these reasons it was decided not to apply the policy and make an exception for this one site using this evidence.
At the time we expected parents and the community at other sites to use this to make complaints that the policy was not being applied fairly but this did not materialise, perhaps because of the numeric evidence.
As a former parent and Chair of Governors at Hillcrest School I have personally witnessed many incidents of appalling and unsafe driver behaviour at this site, even when patrolled. I note in the latest members forum that Cllr Graham Morris (Conservative Question 13) is concerned by a significant increase in HGV traffic on the A37, perhaps due to displacement caused by the Bath CAZ. The Mayor’s reply indicates that there is no monitoring taking place, so this SCP decision can not be said to be based on evidence, unlike the decision NOT to discontinue this site and make an exception here.
I would have expected that reversing this position, made under Mayor Rees, would have at least warranted some transparency and form of communication or consultation. I am sure that if this had been undertaken then you would have experienced a clear message to maintain this site.
For all these reasons I fully understand the local concerns and urge you to reconsider this decision. I suspect you may hear from the local community if you do not.
Councillor Ed Plowden
Councillor for Windmill Hill