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Fears for Culloden pupils' safety after crossing lights fail again

By Neil MacPhail

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SCHOOL pupils are in danger of injury or death after lights at a busy pedestrian crossing near Culloden Academy failed yet again, says a concerned parent.

Hundreds of children a day are pouring over the crossing in Barn Church Road-Keppoch Road junction, following each other into the traffic “like lemmings”.

And Ian Donaldson, a solicitor, rounded angrily on Highland Council when they responded to his complaint by saying there was an alternative crossing further along the road.

“It is completely disingenuous for the council to say this,” he said. “The simple fact is that no child from Balloch or East Moray Park walks to the western crossing to cross. Hundreds of children each day use the eastern crossing.

“The council cannot simply opt out of their responsibility to the safety of the children of the area in this way.

“A temporary crossing would be simple to install and until this is done hundreds of children take their lives in their hands and if any accident does arise then the council will be partly responsible.

“If the council think otherwise, I suggest they send someone to the area to monitor the situation for the busy times before and after school to see the reality of the situation.”

Mr Donaldson said the lights failed yet again at the junction as the school holidays started and have not worked since.

He also contacted the school which in turn contacted the council to be told the matter was “in hand” but would require engineers from the central belt to fix it.

He added: “The situation is horrendously dangerous, with the children following each other like lemmings across the road in the face of approaching vehicles.

“It is only a matter of time until a child is knocked down. I have reported the fault online to the council three times but I’ve heard nothing.”

He said the situation was “absolutely scary” especially when well-meaning drivers heading in one direction stop to let children cross, but drivers going the other way do not.

He has lodged a Freedom of Information request with the council asking for the history of the lights not working and what the council did about the faults.

A council spokesman said: “There is another pedestrian crossing nearby on Barn Church Road that can be used by pupils walking to Culloden Academy. The faulty lights at the Balloch (east) side of the junction with Keppoch Road are currently out of use and require repairs.”

Later the council added that Culloden Academy had notified pupils: “Until it is repaired, we are requesting that pupils use the crossing west of the school/Keppoch Road junction.

“This will involve a slight detour for pupils who should use the pelican crossing on Keppoch Road then the west-side pedestrian crossing. It is important to be aware of road safety at this busy junction.”

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