School footpath is ‘huge safety concern’

Hugh Leslie stands at one of the problem areas on the footpath
Hugh Leslie stands at one of the problem areas on the footpath

A meeting with council officers has been arranged to look at widening a busy footpath near a primary school.

Representatives of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Cree Valley Community Council and local residents will meet on Monday, September 11 to look at what can be done to improve the footpath at Auchendoon Road near Penninghame Primary.

Hugh Leslie, who lives on Auchendoon Road opposite Penninghame Primary School in Newton Stewart, says for the last 18 months he has been trying to convince the local authority to improve the footway access to Penninghame Primary School.

Mr Leslie said: “Auchendoon Road turns into chaos three times a day during school pickup and drop off. The width of the footway along the front of Penninghame primary school is mostly 750mm wide however this decreases to less than 650mm due to electric service pylons.

“The design standards for footpaths call for a width of 2000mm which allows for two wheelchairs/ buggies to pass each other. Unfortunately 2000mm is along way from the existing width of the footway that is so narrow I can’t find any reference that would allow the pavement to be classed as an official footway. If i’m correct on this it would mean that we have a primary school and nursery with no official pedestrian access from Auchendoon Road, which is a huge safety concern.”

Mr Leslie added that the roads consultation response produced during the consultation for the new nursery highlights road safety concerns from the police and parent working groups and recommends that the footway is widened along the whole school front not just the nursery.

He said that his efforts had now ‘hit a brick wall’, and as a result, he has invited councillors for Mid Galloway and Wigtown West, along with the local press and community council to witness for themselves Auchendoon Road during peak drop off times to see if they can progress the matter.

It is understood that the council has no budget for the footway improvement works but the footway widening works could be added to a list of potential future walking and cycling schemes. Works at Auchendoon Road could be added to an overall list of schemes to be prioritised. The council has no capital programme for provision for pedestrians. Therefore any such schemes need to be funded from the allocation from Scottish Government for the next financial year.