‘We need zebras’, say parents worried about accidents near their primary schools

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Bromley residents have called on the council to add pedestrian crossings on the road outside linked infant and junior schools in Petts Wood, Orpington, where six people were seriously injured in crashes.

A petition, signed by 1,436 people, asks the local authority to add zebra crossings in Crofton Lane beside Crofton Infant School and in Towncourt Lane near Crofton Junior School.

It said that the crossing currently in place in Crofton Lane is not marked or visible to drivers, while there is no crossing at all in Towncourt Lane.

It added: “Due to no proper crossing, some drivers either do not see that this is a spot where pedestrians will cross, or they do not feel obliged to stop, given no requirement.

“Parents with children are often ignored by the drivers. This unfortunately will either cause accidents or we will be honked at.”

Karina Malka, who started the petition, said at the council meeting on Monday that the two schools had 1,305 pupils between them and, combined, they were one of the largest primary schools in the country.

She claimed that petitioners were aware of 76 near-misses involving children outside the school.

She said at the meeting: “Let us prioritise the well-being of our children. Let us invest and save. Is the cost of installing a zebra crossing more than the potential cost of a child’s life?”

The petition claimed there had been six adult casualties in the area around the school in the past three years.

Data from showed that six incidents involving serious injuries had occurred in Crofton Lane since 2018, with another also taking place in Towncourt Lane in 2019.

Conservative councillor Nicholas Bennett, portfolio holder for road safety, said at the meeting that funding from Transport for London had been approved to carry out a study on road safety in the area.

Cllr Bennett said: “I’ve got to rely on the expert advice of our traffic engineers. There are hundreds of schools in the borough and hundreds of applications every year for speed bumps and crossings. We have to do it on an evidence-based matter.”

But Conservative councillor Tony Owen said: “We’re actually being presented here with a solution for a problem that really doesn’t exist.

“I’ve been a councillor of Petts Wood and Knoll since 1989. My partially-sighted daughter went to that school, so I’ve seen it from a parent’s point of view and I’m not aware of any child accidents.”

Conservative councillor Keith Onslow, also representing the Petts Wood and Knoll ward, said: “In some respects it’s an accident waiting to happen, but let’s hope, with some measures, that we can prevent it.”

The council agreed at the meeting to note the petition and proceed with no further action. Crofton School has been approached for comment.

Pictured top: Crofton Infant School in Towncourt Lane, Petts Wood (Picture: Google Street View)

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