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Families 'taking lives in their hands after A47 crossing lights damage' claim

Parents have been “taking their lives into their own hands” to take their children to school.

That’s according to one woman whose children go to school in Middleton, where traffic lights which allow youngsters to cross the A47 at peak times have not been working since the start of the new school year.

Highways officials said engineers were due to visit the site yesterday to install temporary signals, though it is claimed that only followed repeated calls for action.

Traffic Light Crossing on the A47 at Middleton out of Action..Heavy Traffic passing the Crossing on Wednesday Afternoon Sept 11th 2019. (16449504)
Traffic Light Crossing on the A47 at Middleton out of Action..Heavy Traffic passing the Crossing on Wednesday Afternoon Sept 11th 2019. (16449504)

The woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, said the issue has been reported to Highways England numerous times since last week, but it has not yet been resolved.

“Although it’s a 40mph speed limit, a lot of cars do 60. That’s extremely dangerous to try and get across there,” she said.

“At the moment, parents are taking their lives into their own hands to get across. There’s just no break in traffic at that time.”

She said last week when the children went back to school, Highways had been doing some roadworks nearby.

“There were temporary traffic lights there, so you would think that they would be able, when they had finished that, to move the temporary traffic lights, because there’s no crossing whatsoever,” she added.

“Highways had said it would be fixed by the weekend, but it wasn’t.”

To try to make the situation safer, police officers have been on the scene when it has been possible.

Community engagement officer PC Lee Anderton said officers have been helping with the crossing “as and when” they can.

He said: “We have told Highways we shouldn’t be doing this but we are just helping out for safety reasons.”

PC Anderton said if an officer is on the scene there, and they are called out to a job, that may mean children are left “in limbo”.

Graham Middleton, who represents the village at Norfolk County Council, said: “It’s far from ideal. We have been made aware and we have reported this through to Highways England.”

Elaine Oliver, clerk at Middleton Parish Council, said, on Wednesday: “We are aware of the situation about the traffic lights. We have reported this to Norfolk County Council Highways and Highways England.”

A Highways England spokesman said yesterday: “Safety runs through everything we do, and engineers will be on site today to install temporary lights to provide a safe crossing after the permanent lights were damaged during a road traffic collision.

“We want to make a permanent repair as soon as possible, but after speaking to the headmistress of the local school, we believe this to be the best short-term option until a permanent fix can be made.”

But Rachael Greenhalgh, executive head of the Middleton Primary Academy, said she had been left frustrated by the slow response.

She said yesterday: "From Thursday last week we were told that the situation with the lights was being treated as critical and that they would be fixed. However, a week later and we are still waiting for them to resolve the issue.

"The police have been very supportive and have done their best to help our families cross the A47 at this very dangerous spot.

"Today we have been informed that they will be fixed but this has been promised all week. Our staff continue to ring the police to ask for their support to help keep our children safe."

The crossing was installed two years ago following several years of campaigning by villagers for a safe means of negotiating the A47.

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