Northampton headteacher says school expansion plans may pose risk to safety

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A headteacher has warned that the planned expansion of a Northampton primary school poses a risk to safety if the county council does not act to ease traffic congestion in nearby roads.

Earl Spencer Primary School in Streatfield Road, Spencer, is moving from a single-form entry of 210 pupils to a two-form entry of 420 and the school said there were fears the existing road infrastructure would not be able to cope.

Mark Rapps, headteacher, said: “We are a school that will double in size, based in the middle of a residential area. No provision has been made to improve the surrounding infrastructure to ease congestion and ensure that now, and in the years to come, our children and families are safe.”

After unsuccessfully requesting a new car park from the county council, a group of parents is organising a petition to prompt some action from the local authority.

Darren Palmer, 45, of Monmouth Road, who has two daughters at the school, said one solution could be building footpaths on the other side of the school to encourage people to walk. He said: “A lot of the problem is people bring their cars even if they live round the corner because that road itself is a nightmare.”

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said, when plans for the expansion were assessed, “various approaches were considered to mitigate any traffic increase”.

But he added: “On this occasion it was seen that working with the school on our safer Routes to School programme and an updated travel plan, which encourages safe, alternative means to car travel, were the best solutions.”