First Welborne school prompts A32 crossing fear

The hustings at Portsmouth College - from left:  David Carpenter (college governor), Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dems), Ian McCulloch (Green), Steve Fitzgerald (college teacher and chair), Stephen Morgan (Labour), Kevan Chippindall-Higgin (Ukip) and Penny Mordaunt (Cons)   Picture: Heather Eggelton

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FEARS over the position of the first school to be built in Welborne – the new town to be built north of Fareham – have come out at a consultation.

Fareham Borough Council held a public exhibition in Funtley yesterday.

Scores of worried residents went to view the plans at Funtley Road Social Club and express concerns about the new town.

Among the concerns were worries that the first school planned is badly placed.

It will be built to the east of the A32, whereas Welborne’s houses will be to the west, prompting fears that children will be put at risk by crossing the road.

Jon Cox, 38, was at the exhibition with his 17-month-old daughter.

He said: ‘The A32 is already a problem. It is too busy a road to contemplate crossing safely. It’s 50mph at the moment and there was a fatal accident there not long ago, it’s a fast road.’

Mary Stock, 66, from Funtley, said: ‘It’s a busy and fast road. They ought to build a bridge or underpass.’

Fareham East ward Cllr Katrina Trott agreed. She said: ‘It would make more sense to have the school built in the northern side first.’

Council leader Sean Woodward defended the positioning of the school and said that placing it to the east will enable a large chunk of land to be dedicated to schooling, with a secondary school being built next to a primary.

He said: ‘We could have what is called a through-flow school. This would mean children could start at primary school and progress to secondary on the same site.’

He said that doing so would mean secondary school places would be made available up to a decade earlier than in other similar developments.

Cllr Woodward also said that the A32 would eventually change because of the new town. He said: ‘That piece of the A32 will not look anything like it does now. It will be more of an urban street.’

The council will be looking at building a large bridge to connect the schools to the residential areas.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘It will not be just one of those spiral monstrosities that nobody wants to use. We want to make it a feature, to get children to and from school safely. It will be more substantial than a normal footbridge.’

The next public exhibition is on Tuesday between 4pm and 7pm at Knowle Community Centre, Greater Horseshoe Way, Knowle.

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