Seahouses school pedestrian link upgrade to start in 2020
The upgrade of a pedestrian link to the school in Seahouses is set to start early in the next financial year in the wake of a well-supported petition.
At a meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council, members agreed that the project to resurface the public bridleway from South Lane, North Sunderland, to the side gate of Seahouses Primary School and Busy Bees nursery, known as the Lonnen, should go ahead.
It came on the back of a petition started by resident Krzysztof Skibicki, which attracted a total of 245 names – 115 on the e-petition and 130 handwritten.
He explained to the councillors that the state of the path had really become an issue since the primary school and nursery moved to the former middle school site back in 2017, as it was now used twice daily by the likes of parents with buggies and young children on scooters.
“There were no weeks in the last two years when there wasn’t an accident,” he added.
Greg Gavin, Northumberland County Council’s head of neighbourhood services, said that the authority felt that the surface was suitable for a bridleway, but recognised that its main use now is for access to the school.
It is estimated that the work to create a sealed surface will cost around £40,000 to £50,000 and while there is no funding available for this year, it is proposed to include the scheme in the 2020-21 Local Transport Plan.
The hope is that it will get underway ‘as soon as possible after April’, Mr Gavin said.
The call to improve the path was backed by the parish council chairman, Geoffrey Stewart, as well as the area’s county councillor, Guy Renner-Thompson, although both warned that there were issues related to drainage and vehicular access for some of the properties along the Lonnen.
Mr Gavin said that the design team would liaise with them both when the work plan was being drawn up.
Mr Skibicki also made suggestions that the school and nursery could get involved in planting, while he also called for lighting along the route.
Mr Gavin explained that he could not give a final answer on those elements as they had not been included in the petition and had not been looked at, but he said that he believed lighting was unlikely as it is not part of the public highway.