THE community at Winton Community Academy in Andover has been left worried and confused after the footpath near their school was removed without warning.

An area of pavement on London Road, close to the school, was not available for use at school arrival time today (Tuesday, September 14), leaving parents to raise concerns about safety.

The closure is part of ongoing works on the road.

One parent, who did not want to be named, said: “I'd like to know why has the footpath on London Road been removed in the direction of Winton school and no provisions made to accommodate the few hundred children that actually do use it daily? This is unacceptable and dangerous.”

The parent said that they received a text message from the school this morning (Tuesday, September 14).

The message, seen by the Advertiser, said: “Unfortunately the London Road footpath has been removed. Sorry we did not make you aware as we had not been made aware ourselves.

“As a result students will need to cross at the top traffic lights outside of the school. Students should not cross alongside the paving works. Thank you for your support.”

When the Advertiser asked Hampshire County Council to explain the situation, and why students weren’t given prior warning, Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Highway Operations, said: “Developers Taylor Wimpey have started work on footway and cycleway improvements in London Road in Andover as part of planning obligations for the East Anton housing estate.

“Hampshire County Council is working with the developer to coordinate these works and the provision of safe alternative walking routes.”

Cllr Iris Andersen (TVBC, Andover St Mary’s) has been in communication with the county council since 8am to find a resolution.

She told the Advertiser: “It was concerning to me that the school was not made aware, but I contacted Hampshire County Council who addressed my concerns and an apology has now been made.

"My main concern is the safety of the children. My message is for them to only go the way that has been advised to them, and not try to cross anywhere else.”

She added: “They did try and do all of the work during the school holidays, but sometimes it doesn’t work out like that, and so it’s important to ensure that pedestrians have a safe walking route to the school.”