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Old Catton school reassures residents over access

Residents on Swansgate in Old Catton have been worried about Lodge Lane Infant School opening an access gate for pupils to use their cul-de-sac but headteacher Andy Tovell (pictured) and Norfolk County Council have moved to assure them they will do all they can to smooth the transition. Yr 2 pupils Joshua Manners, Roxane Marrow, James Howard, Amy Clarke and Kai Burton.; PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Residents on Swansgate in Old Catton have been worried about Lodge Lane Infant School opening an access gate for pupils to use their cul-de-sac but headteacher Andy Tovell (pictured) and Norfolk County Council have moved to assure them they will do all they can to smooth the transition. Yr 2 pupils Joshua Manners, Roxane Marrow, James Howard, Amy Clarke and Kai Burton.; PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

An Old Catton school has moved to ease the fears of families who are worried their cul-de-sac is about to be flooded with people using it as access to the school.

Properties at the bottom of Swansgate back on to the grounds of Lodge Lane Infant School, but up until now there has never been access to the school through the cul-de-sac. That is all about to change, though, as a previously unused access gate is to be brought back into use.

Some Swansgate householders are worried that parents will begin using their road to drop children off at the new gate, but Lodge Lane Infanct School headteacher Andy Tovell insists they will do all they can to minimise the impact of the much-needed extra access.

He said: “We have had several near misses outside our school, caused by problems with parking and traffic congestion. The safety of our pupils has to be our first concern and we have, therefore, looked at how we can provide safer routes and access to the school, as part of our school travel plan.

“We have had a gate at the back of the school for more than 20 years and it is a legal right of way that has been in place since the estate was built. We have recently explored the possibility of opening up the access and this has meant replacing the gate.”

Mr Tovell added: “We appreciate that some residents may be concerned about congestion in Swansgate, but we will be working with parents to remind them that this is not a suitable drop-off point for pupils. The aim of opening the gate is to support more children to walk to school. We are also exploring the possibility of creating a ‘Park and Stride’ scheme in this area. We have been working to keep residents informed of our plans and are happy to discuss any concerns.”

The plan also has the backing of Norfolk County Council, which funded the replacement of the gate. Spokesman Kate Gooding said: “We worked with Lodge Lane Infant School to develop a school travel plan aimed at reducing congestion and encouraging safer and healthier ways to travel to school. We understand that some residents have expressed concerns, but we are hopeful that this scheme will benefit the whole area.”

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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