A COMMUNITY has come together to urge people to ‘slow down’ when travelling past a village primary school.

Parents, staff, residents and children gathered at Trull Primary School, Church Road, on Monday, November 19, to show their support for a petition to reduce the speed limit to 20mph.

Somerset County Gazette:

APPEAL: Children, staff, residents and parents gather at Trull Primary School to support the 20mph petition 

Staff members and parents fear a child could get hurt on their way to or from school, or when walking to the nearby church during school sessions.

Headteacher Karen Wedlake launched the petition to urge Somerset County Council to reduce the speed limit from 30mph to 20, on the road which she says is ‘dangerous’.

She said: “We get a lot of people cutting through, people going to work, its like a rat run. Satnavs will direct lorries down here and they get blocked.

“The blind bend is 30mph, if we want to cross I have to send someone there to stop the traffic.

“Parents feel it’s not safe to walk to school. I’ve had children turn up shaking, they have had to jump into the hedge because a car has come so fast past them.

“We have to take our life into our own hands to stand in the middle of road, so we are there in high vis jackets, and still I have a car brush past the hand of a member of staff because the driver just didn’t want to wait. Luckily the children hadn’t started to cross yet.

“It’s just not safe.”

The petition has more than 300 signatures online and more on paper.

On nearby Trull Road, a 20mph limit is set outside Queen’s College, but drivers quickly speed up on their approach to the primary school.

Tanya Hughes, chairman of governors and a parent, said: “We’d really like to have the 20mph extended on from Trull Road. It would encourage more children to walk to school, but to walk safely.

“It’s really dangerous at the point it goes from 20 to 30 because people speed up and then there’s a really nasty bend on Wild Oak Lane.

“There are no signs that say ‘slow down’, people who have never travelled through Trull before might not know there’s a school here and children could be crossing.

“We just want to highlight people need to slow down and be more aware.

“We want to do something before something really bad happens.”

Allison Day, who has been a Trull resident for the last six years, said: “I witness the driving on a daily basis and particularly at school run times, it's dangerous.

“There is a lack of consideration for other road users. I cycle down to the hospital several days a week for work, I have to pull out wide on the corner to prevent the person behind me from trying to overtake me, in order to prevent a collision. There’s just no need for it really.”

Somerset County Gazette:

CONCERNED: Cllr Habib Farbahi, resident Allison Day, cllr Alan Wedderkopp, cllr Simon Nicholls and headteacher Karen Wedlake

Three Taunton Deane councillors and a county councillor have backed the school’s bid for a slower speed limit. Deane cllrs Habib Farbahi and Simon Nicholls appeared alongside county cllr Alan Wedderkopp at the school to support the petition, while deputy leader of TDBC Mark Edwards has voiced his support for a 20mph limit, similar to the one outside Queen’s College, where he is chairman of governors.

A joint statement between LibDem cllrs Farbahi, Nicholls and Wedderkopp, said: "We ask the current administration at the county council to listen to the parents, children, residents, Trull Primary School and councillors in a positive way by prioritising funding to implement the 20 mph limits outside those schools where the school and the community request them. Children safety should be council’s top priority.

"Parents want their children to be safe going to and from school and 20 mph speed limits outside schools help to achieve this by reducing traffic speeds and improving the road safety for all residents. A reduced speed limit warns drivers that they need to slow down near a school.

"The county council introduced 20 mph limits outside some schools in Taunton Deane with the aim of extending it to Somerset wide, regretfully the administration changed and so did it’s priorities. The current administration decided to ditch the proposal many years ago."

Cllr Mark Edwards, deputy leader of TDBC and chairman of Governors at Queen’s College, said: "I have signed the petition that Trull School has instigated as whilst the County Council has previously rejected the request the issues have not altered and I hope that they could give serious consideration to the proposal. In addition Queen’s College has a Boarding House on Wild Oak Lane and the proposal would improve the safety of our students as well.

"The county council instigated a 20 mph area outside our main college campus a number of years ago which was not at our request and whilst I was supportive I was always perplexed at to why they did not include Trull School and Wild Oak Lane at the same time."

SCC says reducing the speed limit is not currently a ‘priority’ as no crashes have been reported for the last five years.

A spokesman added: “We take road safety seriously and are grateful to the Trull community for voicing their concerns about traffic speeds in the village.

“Our funding from Government has been significantly reduced in recent years and this means we have to prioritise works carefully and make sure our resources are directed where there is clear evidence of significant problems.

“The average speed readings in Church Road based on a 24-hour day have been recorded at 18.5mph, already slower than 20mph, and no collisions have been recorded in the past five years. A reduction in the current speed limit is not a priority at this time.”