MP leads meeting with Reading Council over Dee Road crossing

Campaigners are pressing for a road crossing on Dee Road Phil Creighton

The leader of Reading Borough Council has praised the way in which parents, a Reading MP and the Council are working together to help improve road safety near to two very busy primary schools in Tilehurst, while the MP backing the campaign says that the Council is under “no doubt” that a pedestrian crossing is the only solution.

Last week, Reading West MP Alok Sharma arranged a meeting with headteachers, governors and Cllr Jo Lovelock, the leader of Reading Borough Council, to discuss a campaign to install a pedestrian crossing near two primary schools in the Dee Road area.

The MP has backed the campaign which will help St Michael’s Primary School and English Martyrs’ Catholic Primary School in Dee Road. So far, more than 1,000 people have signed a petition requesting the crossing, which led the Council to investigate the proposal.

A report into the suggestions will be published on March 5, which will then be considered by the Council when it meets on March 12.

At the meeting the Alok organised last week, the Reading West MP welcomed Emma Simpson-Holland, who began the petition after she experienced a number of near-misses on Dee Road, local councillor Sandra Vickers – a governor at English Martyrs’ Primary – and two transport officers from Reading Borough Council.

It was also agreed during the meeting that school flashing warning lights, which have been installed but have not previously been switched on, will be switched on between 8.15am-9am and 2.45pm-3.30pm.

Traffic islands on Dee Road were also considered during the meeting, as well as proposals to find a team of people who could share the role of lollipop person.

Alok said: “Reading Borough Council will have been left in no doubt after this meeting that the only acceptable solution to the traffic concerns on Dee Road is to install a pedestrian crossing.

“I very much hope that the council will listen to the headteachers of St Michael’s and English Martyrs’ schools and to the hundreds of local people who have signed the petition.”

Cllr Jo Lovelock, leader of Reading Borough Council, said: “It is good that everyone is working together to try and improve the situation in Dee Road.

“While the council does the assessment of the possible locations for a crossing there are things that could be put in place very quickly, including a School Crossing Patrol officer or ‘lollipop person’ at both English Martyrs and St Michael’s schools.

“If anyone is interested in applying for these jobs please get in touch with either school.”

Emma Simpson-Holland added: “I am pleased that the council are going to turn on the warning lights and looking to recruit a lollipop person, but I hope they will still take the crossing seriously as its important a permanent fixture is installed to ensure safety.”

Cllr Sandra Vickers, who is a Conservative councillor for Tilehurst, said: “I am very pleased that the council is considering this proposal for a crossing and traffic islands and that as a mother and grandmother I consider the safety of our children to be a top priority and hopefully these safety measures will be in place as soon as possible.”

Reading Borough Council spokesman Oscar Mortali said: “The Council is fully aware of calls for a crossing to be put in place. Transport officers need to take into account a whole range of factors when considering whether a crossing is the best option at this location and all options will be discussed at the next meeting of the Council’s Traffic Management Sub Committee on March 12.”