Pupils demand cycle lane as NDR sends 1200 cars their way during rush hour

Horsford Primary School children doing a traffic survey, who have started an online petition for a

Horsford Primary School children doing a traffic survey, who have started an online petition for a safe cycleway as it is too dangerous for them to cycle to school due to the heavy traffic on Holt Road in the village. From left, Talia, 11; Maizie, 10; George, 11; Josh, 11; Olivia, 11; and Jack, 11. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Year 6 pupils who say cycling to school is a "nightmare" because of excessive traffic through their village have launched a petition to make Norfolk County Council heed their plight.

The group of 11-year-olds from Horsford Primary School, who live off the Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NDR) mainly around Holt Road and Gordon Godfrey Way, were inspired by Greta Thunberg to reduce their carbon footprint and minimise car journeys to school.

But since the NDR became operational, and three new housing estates were added to Horsford, the volume of traffic and lack of cycle lanes are making it "too dangerous" for the children to put their ideas into action.

Horsford Primary School children doing a traffic survey, who have started an online petition for a

Horsford Primary School children doing a traffic survey, who have started an online petition for a safe cycleway as it is too dangerous for them to cycle to school due to the heavy traffic on Holt Road in the village. With them is their teacher, Shayney Blyth, and teaching assistant, Kieran Jappy. From left, Talia, 11; Maizie, 10; George, 11; Josh, 11; Olivia, 11; and Jack, 11. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Year 6 Teacher Shayney Blyth said a class survey found an average of 1,200 vehicles pass Holt Road hourly during busy periods.

She said: "My biggest fear is that one of the 10 children that do cycle here won't show up one day because they've been in an accident."

One of the traffic surveys by Horsford Primary School children of traffic on Holt Road in the villag

One of the traffic surveys by Horsford Primary School children of traffic on Holt Road in the village. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Year Six teacher, Shayney Blyth, at Horsford Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Year Six teacher, Shayney Blyth, at Horsford Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021


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In May, the school of 170 pupils wrote a letter to the county council asking for a safe cycle route through the village from The Cricketers housing estate at the south end to the Kingfisher housing estate at the north end.

Its response was that due to severely reduced funding only "highest priority" or accident-prone locations could be considered for new road safety measures.

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The letter continued: "I am sorry we are unable to help but I would definitely suggest you pass this on to the parish council."

Talia, 11, said: "I often think when I'm cycling to school I'm about to get run over." 

Talia, 11, at Horsford Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Talia, 11, at Horsford Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Josh said making the short cycle journey from his house was a "nightmare". 

"Once I sat behind cars on my way to school for seven minutes in the traffic", he said. "But If I'd gone on the pavement I would have been shouted at."

Josh, 11, at Horsford Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Josh, 11, at Horsford Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Like many others in the school, Jack wants to cycle but can't.

He said: "My mum won't let me - she says it's far too dangerous. If there was a cycle lane I know she'd change her mind."

A county council spokesperson, commenting on the 332-signature strong petition, said: "We’re aware of concerns that have been raised and we will carefully consider the petition, in line with our standard petitions policy, once it has been submitted to us.”

Jack, 11, at Horsford Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jack, 11, at Horsford Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Olivia, 11, at Horsford Primary School. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Olivia, 11, said when her class surveyed the school they found out many more children would come in on their bike if there was a safe cycle lane along Holt Road - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

You can sign the petition here: change.org/horsford-parish-council-help-make-horsford-safer-for-our-children

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