SPEED cushions outside a York primary school have been removed - amid fears they could be dangerous for cyclists in next month's Tour De France.

The cushions are part of a package of measures in Campleshon Road intended to improve safety for children at Knavesmire Primary School.

But City of York Council says they are very worn and damaged and are being replaced with new cushions, with the work deliberately timed to take place as York prepares to host the Grand Depart of the Tour de France next month.

Tony Clarke, the authority's head of transport, said: "We have timed these works to coincide with the Tour de France, under the advice that speed cushions can be dangerous for peloton races because they’re an inconsistent road surface. This is a standard policy and is not unique to York.”

He said the safety of pupils was paramount and other road safety measures outside the school included a speed table and a 20mph zone, which all helped to reduce speed, and he added that it was the parent or guardian’s duty to ensure their children got to and from school safely.

But with the Tour de France still almost a month away, pupils' parents and grandparents were critical of the length of time the road will be left without any cushions.

Gary Wrigglesworth, whose son Oliver attends the school, said the cycle race seemed to be regarded as more important than children's safety.

"Four weeks is a long time," he said. "The council insists these cushions are needed outside schools but then remove them when it suits them," he claimed.

Grandparents Susie and Michael Deacon, whose grandchild is a pupil, said they too were concerned about the loss of the cushions for several weeks. "The cars already come far too fast along here," said Mrs Deacon.

"They don't obey the speed limit."

Rebecca Timney, whose seven-year-old son Malakai is a pupil, was also unhappy at the loss of the cushions.

Headteacher Adam Cooper was unavailable for comment.