06:30PM, Friday 01 July 2016
Parents who campaigned for a safe walking route into Holyport College are now one step closer to seeing it become a reality after the Royal Borough cabinet agreed to begin a consultation on a suggested route yesterday.
The report, shown at council, recommended that a consultation begin on a route along the Ascot Road that would allow children to walk safely to school.
In October Jane Brocklebank, who is a parent at the school, set up a petition after she became frustrated her children had to get a bus less than a mile to the school in Ascot Road.
James Blunden, a 14-year old student at the school spoke passionately for a route to be created and said cycling on the road was ‘pretty scary’.
He said: “Half the population at the school is made up of boarding students who currently feel trapped, they want to walk into the village to use the shops and the cricket club, and a safe path would enable this journey on foot.”
The scheme would cost £140,000 with around £80k coming from the school through s106 developer contributions.
However, some councilors disagreed with s106 money being used to fund the project.
Cllr Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor) said she was ‘extremely disappointed’ that a safe route to school wasn’t considered in the applicant's travel plan when it was approved and said ‘it shouldn’t be an add-on’.
In the original s106 agreement between the Royal Borough and Holyport College it was agreed that the £83k would go towards the Forest Green Junction.
Cllr Malcolm Beer (Ind, Old Windsor) said: "I don't think we should be altering legal agreements about finance; cabinet should not be in a position to make that decision.”
However Simon Fletcher, operations and customer services director at the Royal Borough confirmed that legal agreements between the applicant and the local authority could be ‘varied’ if they both agreed.
Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray) said that Holyport College was not ‘unique’ and children at other schools with no footpaths used public transport.
He said: “It’s ridiculous and a waste of public money to even consult this. It's unsafe.”
Cabinet agreed to approve the recommendations on the report and a consultation will now begin about the route.
During the discussion, leader of the council, Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) and Cllr Philip Bicknell (Con, Park) stepped out of the room due to having connections with the school and did not vote on the report, while Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray) declared a prejudicial interest in the plans as one of the possible routes passed in front of his house.
The meeting took place at the Windsor Guildhall.
An earlier version of this article stated Cllr David Coppinger did not vote on the report due to having connections with the college. He has asked us to clarify he has no connections with the college, but declared a prejudicial interest because one of the proposed routes passed in front of his house.
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