FEARS have been raised that the expansion of a Wrexham primary school could be ‘an accident waiting to happen’.

A large number of residents living close to Barker’s Lane Community Primary School gathered at the town’s Guildhall today to make their feelings known about plans to boost its capacity by 120 pupils.

One of the most frequent issues highlighted by neighbours during a recent consultation exercise was the impact on parking and traffic outside the school.

Wrexham Council’s lead member for education Cllr Phil Wynn (Ind) told them the authority would look to create a bigger staff car park to alleviate problems.

However, many people were angered after members of the independent and Conservative led administration voted by a majority to proceed to a statutory notice period.

Speaking after the meeting, Simon Cooke, who lives near the school, said he was worried about the safety of his two children.

He said: “I walk my children to school in the morning and the roads are already too busy and unsafe at times.

“People leave cars on the red patch, which isn’t a car park, as well as on the side of the roads.

“We were fully aware when we bought the house that it would be busy at school times, and I don’t have a problem with that.

“Unfortunately though when the school was built everyone didn’t use cars as much as they do now, and the school wasn’t built to cater for the traffic it currently has.”

He added: “To add an extra 50 per cent on top of this just wouldn’t be safe, especially for children on their way to and from school.

“With very small children around, Barker’s Lane is an accident waiting to happen.”

Cllr Wynn said the council would use Welsh Government funding to increase full time pupil numbers from 210 to 315 in order to meet the growing demand for school places in the town.

Meanwhile, the number of nursery children would go up from 30 to 45.

But residents were also left unhappy by the fact they were not allowed to ask questions at the meeting, despite receiving a letter from their local councillor Debbie Wallice (Cons) indicating that they would be able to.

They were told the cut off point for public questions to the executive board was 12pm on Wednesday, March 6, which was several hours before the agenda was published.

There were shouts from the gallery that the process was ‘unfair’ and ‘undemocratic’.

Cllr Wallice did raise several points on behalf of her constituents during the meeting.

She said: “The residents’ questions are about the parking and the entrance, they’ve got major concerns themselves.

“One of the statements they’ve put is that the road is totally inadequate for the purpose of access to the staff car park.

“Not only is it not wide enough, but the proposed access is on a bend which in winter is treacherous in bad weather.

“Is Wrexham Council taking the easy option and disregarding local residents?”

In response, Cllr Wynn said the authority would look to mitigate parking and traffic issues as best as it could.

He said if it chose to proceed with the increase, a separate planning application would also need to be made.

He said: “Many of the responses expressed concerns about parking and congestion at the beginning and end of the school day.

“As noted in the report, to address this issue we will propose to provide a much-extended on site car park for staff, which will alleviate the need for staff to park their vehicles on Barker’s Lane during the day, as they usually do.

“I would reiterate that we are actually asking for permission to go to a statutory notice, which is the vehicle by which anybody who wishes to object to the proposal can register their objections.”

In total, nine out of ten executive board members voted in favour of publishing a statutory notice, with only neighbouring ward councillor Bill Baldwin (Ind) against.