Race against time to finish roadworks ahead of new school term

Firside Junior School in Norwich are experiencing increasing problems with parking during pick up an

Firside Junior School in Norwich are experiencing increasing problems with parking during pick up and drop off times. Cars parked along a grass verge mean many children have to walk onto the road to pass by. To combat the problem the school are looking at installing a gate so children can walk safely to school. Pictured are Cllr Shelagh Gurney, Headteacher Roz Robinson and Deputy Head Steve Keer. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Contractors are facing a race against time to complete roadworks outside a school in time for the new autumn term.

Norfolk County Council has been carrying out a roadworks scheme along Middleton's Lane in Hellesdon for the past five weeks, directly outside Firside Junior School.

The £100,000 scheme began on July 26 and has seen a stretch of the Cromer Road end of the road closed to all traffic ever since.

It will see a new zebra crossing installed outside of the school, funded as part of a £130m highways improvements scheme for Norfolk's roads.

The works have seen metal blockades put in place close to the school entrance, with traffic diverted through Bush Road at the airport end of the lane.

And with pupils set to return for a fresh school year at the beginning of next week, contractors are facing a race against time to complete the project in time.

However, a Norfolk County Council spokesperson has insisted the works will be completed on schedule as planned.

They said: "The works to install a new zebra crossing, to improve pedestrian safety at this busy school crossing point, are set to be completed on time and to budget.

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"The scheme is due to be completed this Friday, September 3."

Once completed, the scheme will provide the second new zebra crossing added to the Hellesdon street in the past year.

In 2020, a zebra crossing was installed on the opposite end of the road, close to the Kinsale schools.

However, it came under criticism, with one objector, in particular, choosing an unorthodox method of expressing this - by painting the words "bodge job" across it.

The new crossing has been welcomed by staff at Firside, with headteacher Roz Robinson saying in March: "This, along with the new bollards that were recently installed, will make Middletons Lane a much safer place for the entire school community - but especially the children."

Shelagh Gurney, district and county councillor for Hellesdon, also said at the time she was "delighted" with the scheme, which she had campaigned to secure for the street.