Parents and children have taken to the streets of Lewisham to campaign for the installation of a crossing near a primary and secondary school – which they believe should have been put in place ten years ago.

Get Across Action Group is formed of parents and carers whose children attend Prendergast Ladywell primary and secondary school - as they believe Manwood Road is dangerous to cross and sees “near misses” every day.

They held a protest outside the schools on March 20 at 10.30am as they were “tired of being ignored” by the council regarding the installation of a crossing outside of the school grounds.

Vivien Nicholls, Head of Pendergast Ladywell Primary School, said: “I’ve been head teacher since 2014 when we opened.

“We’ve got a full school of over 400 children.

“Trying to get those children across Manwood Road is so difficult, it’s really dangerous.

“On many occasions, I’ve stood out here myself and I’ve seen cars speeding.

“I’ve seen children nearly get run over.

“We’ve fought for so long with the local authority to try and get a crossing.

“There are lots of reasons why we’ve been told it can’t happen but now I think with ‘Get across’ we could really make it happen here.

“This crossing for all our students and all our community would make such a difference.”

News Shopper: Get Across Action Group is formed of local parents and carers whose children attend Prendergast Ladywell primary and secondary school in LadywellGet Across Action Group is formed of local parents and carers whose children attend Prendergast Ladywell primary and secondary school in Ladywell (Image: Samer Moukarzel)

The action group claims that in 2013 planning permission was granted to build the primary school beside the existing Pendergast secondary - on the condition that a crossing was installed prior to any children occupying the new school, but the primary opened the following year without any crossing.

Lewisham Council has said that this original location plan was not deemed suitable at the time due to the “road layout and restricted visibility”.

In 2016, an alternative zebra crossing was installed 300m away from the original location, but the group says that this is not suitable as the crossing is “nowhere near the point where hundreds of risk their lives crossing the busy road every day.”

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Gina Fryer, a parent of a child who attends the primary school, said: “A child has already been hit and there are near misses every day.

“How can we support our children to be independent travellers when there are no safety measures in place to keep them from harm?

“Speed bumps and a couple of signs are not having the desired effect and putting a crossing 10 minutes up the road away from the school was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“The Council have put a school there and quite frankly they need to put this right before a child gets killed.”

Nadim Baba, another parent, said: “Every day we have to cross where we can but it isn’t easy.

“The fact that there is no official crossing means you’re trying to spot gaps and cars are going so fast so it’s impossible to gauge and try to help the children to learn how to gauge when it’s safe to cross.

“There are so many dangerous incidents I’ve seen and it’s really, really scary.

“We’d like our kids to be able to walk by themselves but at the moment, and I’ve said this to them, there’s no way that I could imagine doing that, which is really sad as we live just down the road so it’s very handy in theory’”.

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “We are currently developing a new scheme to improve pedestrian access and safety at this junction.

“Once detailed plans have been drawn up, we will share these with the school, parents and local residents to get their feedback, with the aim of implementing the new scheme later this year.

“While the possibility of installing a crossing at this junction was previously explored, it was not deemed feasible at the time due to the road layout and restricted visibility at this junction.

“In line with the planning conditions, a crossing was installed in an alternative location 300m down the road.

“A number of road safety measures are already in place outside Prendergast Ladywell School.

“The section of Ewhurst Road outside the school is closed to road traffic at drop-off and pick-up times as part of our School Streets programme and speed bumps are also in place on Manwood Road and Ewhurst Road to deter speeding.”