Crossing campaign wins funding pledge

October 29 2019

By Keri Beckingham

A CAMPAIGN for an extra crossing on Cranbrook Road has gained momentum and a financial commitment from the council for the project.
As previously reported in The Voice, parents started campaigning for a crossing near the junction of Harcourt Hill and Cairns Road in 2016 after a primary school pupil was hit by a car and there were other reports of near misses on the road. Signatures totalling 387 were collected through an online petition from residents in Redland and Westbury Park, concerned that the long stretch of Cranbrook Road, which many children cross on their way to school, lacks a suitable safe crossing point mid-way.
The group of parents, known as the Cranbrook Community Crossing Group, also asked local councillors Martin Fodor and Fi Hance to get involved in their campaign.
Clare Freshwater-Turner is one of the parents who helped initiate the campaign and presented it at a council meeting in November 2016. Speaking about the latest developments, Clare said: “Following the Neighbourhood Partnership team telling us in 2016 that the project was important and next on the list, local funding was taken out by the council – so it was in our grasp to have money for the project and then it got taken away.
“The issue is something that local people still feel strongly about, so a few months ago we got together and made some plans. My children have emailed the council and sent letters, and we’ve got our own logo now too. We also put some bunting up in the area where we want the crossing installed in September, but a few days later it was taken down. I phoned the council’s lighting team and they said that it was really sad and that they wouldn’t have taken it down, so we don’t know who it was.
“In May, Bristol City Council’s councillor for transport, Kye Dudd came to look at the site and said he agreed that it is a problem, but no-one will come and assess to see what they can do as there are no funds. The biggest problem is getting in touch with council, and it feels like we keep getting pushed away and no one is answering our questions. The bottom line is that it’s all down to money, and I’ve submitted a FOI request to find out how the council decides which projects are given priority. There is lots of uncertainty at the moment, and it’s really frustrating. We will have street party at some point to celebrate once the crossing is installed, as for us it’s all about the community.”
At a recent area committee meeting, councillors Martin Fodor and Fi Hance managed to secure funding in principle of up to £31k towards a crossing.  Following this, on Friday October 11 a highways office from Bristol City Council visited the road and met with the campaign group to give a rough idea of which solutions may work.
Councillor Fi Hance said: “Martin and I are delighted that at last there has been some movement.  We’ve secured a commitment of up to £31k for a crossing and have had a visit from a highways officer to work out the best option for the site.”
Clare added: “The meeting went well, and essentially we need a bit more money and then they can make a full assessment of the road. They don't think a raised table or a zebra will be the right solution, it looks more like a traffic island.  One thing for sure that no-one wants is lights here.
“Nothing is confirmed yet so we need to continue to show how keen the community is to resolve this safety issue.”
The Cranbrook Community Crossing Group  are interested to hear the experience of people that cross the road to go to and from school, play group and church. To get in touch, email: safecrossingcranbrookroad@gmail.com