Safety fears as Rhosesmor school has to wait for 20mph zone


Romilly Scragg

ONE school will be left in the fast lane as the only school in the county not to get a new 20mph safety zones.

Ysgol Rhos Helyg, in Rhosesmor, will not be able to get a new 20mph speed limit outside its gates by the start of the next academic year.

Earlier this month Flintshire Council announced the new safety measure will be rolled out for every school in the county after the Welsh Government formally signed off on the slow speed proposal. The news was met with widespread praise.

But Rhos Helyg will not get the 20mph zone until the current mandatory speed limit on the B5123 outside the school is reduced from the current 40mph. 

The 20mph zones can only be implemented on schools where roads outside have a maximum speed limit of 30mph.

Cllr Colin Legg, Halkyn member on Flintshire Council, who has campaigned for lower speed limits outside Rhos Helyg for years, blamed “rigid Cardiff bureaucracy” for preventing Rhos Helyg getting the new 20mph signage.

He raised the issue at a meeting of Flintshire Council’s environment and overview and scrutiny committee but was told Flintshire’s head of planning, Andrew Farrow, the 40mph limit would remain in place for safety reasons. He said to have a road that went from 40mph to 20mph and back to 40mph would be dangerous. 

After the meeting, Cllr Legg said: “When they made the announcement of 20mph for every school, I thought they’d done some magical thing and they were going to have 20mph for everyone. Cars come zipping along there at speeds of 60mph and 70mph. 

“It’s a very dangerous road. The council has worked hard achieve this vital safety measure. It’s a great pity a too rigid bureaucracy in Cardiff doesn’t recognise the desperate urgency for the 20mph limit for the children and parents who use the B5123.

“Parts of the road do not have a footpath and there have been several near misses recently with people actually touched by passing vehicles – another centimetre or two and there could even have been a serious injury or even a fatality. Surely one child’s life saved is worth far more than all the regulations and restrictions.”

A spokesman for Flintshire Council said the 20mph advisory signs will be built outside all schools in the authority.

“Rhos Helyg is currently the only school on a road with a 40mph limit. All other schools are situated on roads with 30mph speed limits,” they added. “The section of B5123 in the vicinity of the school has been identified as a proposed site to reduce the speed limit to 30mph, subject to formal public advertisement at the beginning of August.”

After completion of the legal advertising and consultations, and assuming agreement to the reduction in speed to 30mph, the 20mph advisory signs can then be installed outside Rhos Helyg.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The school in question is on a local road and it is therefore for Flintshire County Council in its capacity as highway authority to determine the appropriate speed limit. We are committed to improving road safety for schoolchildren and would encourage all local authorities to adopt 20mph zones outside schools, where appropriate.

“Since January 2013 we have agreed funding for 21 schemes to create and extend 20 mph zones, most of them around schools.”

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