Councillor Alan Hill has moved to assure Largs Community Council that the local authority are legally required to ensure there are safe routes for children walking to the new school campus.
And North Ayrshire Council told the News that officers are actively working on safe routes.
A meeting was held between North Ayrshire Council, Morrisons Construction, Largs CC and local residents regarding access and road issues.
However, Chairman Douglas Blair, described the meeting as ‘a wee bit fraught’ - he said that a number of concerns were raised in relation to the roads infrastructure which he didn’t believe were fully addressed, and asked for a resume of the meeting and action points from the council,.
Issues raised included congestion, and hopes by residents for a one way system coming into play, which were subsequently ruled out.
Mr Blair said: “In terms of safe road access for children, I have seen an email to a third party to one of the councillors which said that the roads department of NAC were basically going to wait and see what happens. I don’t think that is good enough when it comes to road safety. I don’t think we should wait till a child is knocked down, and take a wait and see approach.”
Another community councillor said that the wait and see approach was also the interpretation they took from the meeting.
In response, Cllr. Hill stated that he would be ‘gobsmacked’ if this was the case, and said NAC have various legal obligations to get children to school safely , and there are officers who are specifically employed in devising these safe routes, and will be required to develop them.
He added that with a year still until the campus opens for primary children, it was unlikely that North Ayrshire Council could give firm commitments as yet.
“What they won’t do just now is talk about is commitments about installing roundabouts, but surveys are to be carried out, and the council do have a legal obligation in terms of road safety,” said Cllr. Hill.
He added that if there wasn’t any further progress by the end of January, to contact them again with regard to further clarification. “Time is marching on,” said Mr Blair.
Cllr. Hill said: “The council may not have carried out all the necessary road safety studies as yet, and the council employ people to do this work.
“As a community council you are entitled to be satisfied that there are safe routes to the new campus.
“But at present, the council may not be ready to do so, but you should at least be told by the council when they will be developed, and when would be the most appropriate time - you need to know at what stage the process is at, and when they can come along and discuss it with you.”
A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We’re taking a very pro-active approach to ensuring road safety as work continues on the new Largs Campus.
“The safety of children is of paramount importance to the Council and that is reflected in the extensive measures we are putting in place.
“From the very early stages of the planning application, the recommendations of a Transportation Statement from external consulting engineers – relating to to pedestrian and vehicle access and safety - have been incorporated into the design.
“Since then, we have also appointed an i-Bike Officer in partnership with Sustrans to promote active travel across the Largs Campus cluster schools as part of the Travel Smart project.
“The officer is currently working across the schools to promote active travel on the school journey. This project includes bike toolkits, training and events including bike maintenance sessions.
“Funding has also been secured from Sustrans to upgrade the path between Alexander Avenue and Moorburn Road to an all-abilities and multi-user access standard. We expect this work to get under way before April.
“In addition, funding has also been secured from Sustrans to undertake an Active Travel Study for Largs. This aims to identify a series of recommendations to improve the opportunities for active travel for everyday journeys across the town.
“This will be subject to extensive public consultation and the recommendations identified may also benefit those travelling to the new campus. Further funding applications will be submitted for the implementation of the recommendations thereafter.
“Initial surveys of walking routes have also been carried out and recommendations for improvements identified. This information will shortly be translated into a series of detail design proposals which will be available for discussion prior to the summer holidays and which will be implemented prior to the campus opening in 2018."
“At a meeting in November with local residents and community council representatives, we agreed to ask an independent engineer to carry out a further review of the traffic management proposals, in particular the residents’ request for a one-way system to operate along Alexander Avenue.
“Once the new campus is complete and ready to open, we will continue to monitor pedestrian and traffic movement to ensure the extensive measures we have put in place are working effectively.”