PARENTS, children and teachers are protesting outside a York school this morning.

A large group of parents, children and teachers are gathering outside Acomb Primary demanding urgent action from City of York Council to address serious road safety concerns that are “putting children’s lives at risk”.

They have been joined by York Central MP Rachael Maskell who said that, despite City of York Council designating Acomb Road as “a very high priority” for road safety improvements over two years ago, so far they have failed to provide safe walking routes to the school which is putting children in danger every day.

In response, the council's executive member for transport, Cllr Andy D'Agorne, said he's concerned about active travel to all city schools, and road safety outside them, and would welcome the opportunity to talk to Ms Maskell about steps that can be taken including the funding available.

Cllr Andy D'Agorne said: “I have already met with parents and Tom Dennis outside the school a few weeks ago to observe the situation first hand and will consider recommended actions that officers have drawn up at my next Decision Session.”

Dave Atkinson, the council's head of highways and transport, said: “The council is aware of the requests from residents around road safety in the area and we are currently carrying out an assessment of potential measures that could be put in place. A report on these findings will be considered at the transport decision session on March 21.”

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Ms Maskell said that parents were left reeling after the recent decision to withdraw all funding for road safety improvements in Acomb Road, despite hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent on much quieter roads elsewhere in the city.


She said that the crossing patrol post on Acomb Road has been vacant for nearly two years and the council has failed to act to put other measures in place to support safe walking routes on this key route at the front of the school. Then at the rear of the school, failure to plan the 20mph zones along Hamilton Drive means that although much of the road is 20mph, the speed actually rises to 30mph around Acomb Primary School and West Bank Park. This means the road is extremely busy and dangerous to cross safely.

The group have launched a campaign pressing the council to reconsider their decision to remove all road safety funding for the area. 


More than 800 signatures have been collected so far demanding the council urgently look at the roads around the school so that children can walk and scoot safely.

York Press: One of the pupils at the protestOne of the pupils at the protest (Image: Acomb Primary)

They are calling for:

• New pedestrian crossings on Acomb Road and Hamilton Drive near the school

• Speed reduction measures (20mph zone) on Acomb Road and Hamilton Drive near the school.

York Press: One of the pupils at the protestOne of the pupils at the protest (Image: Acomb Primary)

Ms Maskell said: "Every child should have a right to get safely to school each day, and parents should not have to worry for the safety of their children in this way. The dangerous conditions on these roads are clear and undisputed, but so far the council has failed to deliver the basic emergency measures this school community are calling for.

"The failure to do so is completely inexcusable, particularly when the council is continuing to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds on other projects on much quieter roads elsewhere in the city.

"With scarce resources available, all money must be focused on places like this where it is most needed.

"It is shameful that a city, once renowned for its walking and cycling, has fallen so far behind. Last week, the new Government agency Active Travel England York opened its Headquarters in York.

"We have a unique opportunity to lead the way in active travel, one the Council have completely failed to grasp. Just last month the Council was humiliatingly downgraded by Active Travel England to the second to lowest grade for performance on delivering improved walking and cycling routes. In addition to this being a complete embarrassment, this downgrading also limits the funding the Council can secure to deliver the urgent improvements, like the ones called for by these parents, that children and other vulnerable road users in the city urgently need. This is completely unacceptable and urgent improvement is needed."

York Press: Rachael Maskell talking to pupils outside Acomb SchoolRachael Maskell talking to pupils outside Acomb School (Image: Acomb Primary)

Tom Dennis, teacher and Active Travel Lead at Acomb Primary School, said: "The visit by Rachael Maskell to Acomb Road and Hamilton Drive is an important step in what has been a long battle to see the safety of Acomb Road, Hamilton Drive and surrounding streets, improved.

"For many years, this area has seen dangerous driving, inconsiderate parking and speeds in excess of the indicated speed limit - these actions have a direct impact on the parents, carers, staff and children who do their best to commute safely to and from our school. Although many measures have been taken by concerned stakeholders, namely parents, the school and local residents, more needs to be done and the opportunity for our local MP to attend is a vital step in recognising this. Acomb Primary is passionate about improving the safety for all those linked to our school, and we fully support any meaningful change and improvement that can be made."

Holgate councillor Kallum Taylor said: “This morning was really positive - hats off to all of the parents and especially the children - but it’s a huge shame it was even needed.  For years now as Holgate’s Labour Councillors, along with the school itself, we’ve been urging the Council to make Acomb Road safe, yet they’ve either ignored or downplayed the situation.  So it’s no surprise to see people now demonstrating.

"In response to the Council’s lack of interest, we’ve even offered to put in a huge chunk of our own Ward funding to pay for a trial of a safe crossing point.  They haven’t taken us up on this yet, while at the same time are still set to throw the best part of a million pounds on a cycle scheme for a much quieter road inside the Ward of Green Executive Member for Transport, Cllr Andy D’Agorne.  He and his Lib-Dem Green administration needs to get their priorities sorted and stop waiting for accidents to happen.”

Louise Woodruff, Acomb Primary School parent, said: "It’s totally wrong that parents have to wait for a vehicle to decide to voluntary stop on a 30mph road to be able to get to the middle of the road with their little ones, crowd on to a small island and then repeat to try to get to the other side. This is a serious accident waiting to happen and is very dangerous. It also completely undoes how we teach children to safely cross a road. City of York Council must act now to provide a safe route for Acomb Primary School children to walk to school."

Joanna Sukiennik, Acomb Primary parent, said: "Safer road crossings on Hamilton Drive are absolutely essential for the safety of children and parents to enable safe access to Acomb Primary and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs (OLQM) schools. During school-run hours on Hamilton Drive I see or hear of a number of near misses that is absolutely shocking.

"This section of Hamilton Drive, near New Lane, is also a link to OLQM Primary School, Heather's Nursery, Holgate Preschool, Railway Institute and West Bank Park. Every day kids risk serious injury or worse here! Urgent action from the Council is required as this is a serious accident waiting to happen. Does the Council really want that?

"Every day I have to cross Acomb Road to get to school with my little ones. We’ve had several near misses and enough is enough – we need to see a pedestrian crossing and 20mph in place urgently. Will the Council only take action when a child is injured or worse? We keep waiting but nothing happens?"