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PLANNING is under way for a new footpath that will allow children to walk safely to the new Forest & Sandridge school site after the move in September.
Melksham Without Parish Council has submitted a planning application for the 210m footpath beside Snarlton Lane, after it emerged that people walking to and from the school would have to walk in the road.
The path, which will cut through a field beside the road, is expected to cost in excess of £28,500.
Councillors are pushing to get the safety measure in place quickly and, although only two months remain until the start of autumn term, they are hopeful that the path will be completed in time.
Councillor for Summerham and Seend, Jonathon Seed said, “We are determined to get this new path across open green space (not a pavement) completed by 1st September.
“Snarlton Lane is a road which cars pass along; most pupils will use this route and there is no footpath along the stretch in question.
“The pricing is not excessive for two hundred metres of new hard surfaced path across a grass field. Wiltshire Council is underwriting the costs of construction so it can start, but the funding is being covered by s106 money set aside for the school transport purposes in due course.”
When asked why safe access had not been included in the school’s original plans, cllr Seed replied, “This school has been planned for several years, and is being built by a joint enterprise of the housing developers, the Diocese and Wiltshire Council. The catchment area has emerged over that period, and a school transport plan will be developed by the new governors and staff.
“This is about children’s safety and is not a matter for blame – it is too important an issue for that.”
A site visit took place in May with local councillors, landowners, and members of Wiltshire Council. All agreed that the footpath was necessary but could cost in excess of £28,500.
Wiltshire County Council confirmed that it was not a requirement for applicants to provide pedestrian access to the school as part of the original site plan.