YEARS of campaigning for a signalised pedestrian crossing outside a primary school look set to be paying off after a Uturn by council chiefs.

Proposals for a puffin crossing outside Roman Way Primary School, in Viking Way, are now back on Hampshire County Council’s (HCC) agenda, despite the authority maintaining the pedestrian-to-vehicle ratio was not high enough to warrant a crossing until just a few weeks ago.

The decision to give engineers the go-ahead to develop plans for the crossing comes after a meeting where leader of Test Valley Borough Council, councillor Phil North, county councillor for Andover North, Kirsty Locke, and MP for North West Hampshire, Kit Malthouse, lobbied HCC’s executive member for environment and transport, councillor Rob Humby, to install a crossing.

Following the meeting, cllr Humby said: “I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with local councillors and the local MP to discuss arrangements for pedestrians on Viking Way, and how we could best use the funding available as part of the agreements with the developers of the East Anton development.

“I’ve asked our engineers to develop a proposal for a puffin crossing, and once we have this, we will consult with local residents, the school, and the wider community.

"In the meantime, the two school crossing patrol officers are in post to help children and parents cross the road at the beginning and end of the school day.”

On the reasons for the change of view, cllr Humby added: “A further survey has confirmed that the number of vehicles is increasing faster than anticipated and so I think it’s the right time to start planning for the future by consulting on and designing a crossing.”

As previously reported by the Advertiser, the developers of Augusta Park, Taylor Wimpey, paid a contribution to HCC for a signalised crossing to be installed during the early stages of the development, in anticipation of the increased traffic travelling past the school as the estate grows.

Although plans for a crossing outside the school have been discussed since the development began, HCC had upheld the view that the pedestrian-to-vehicle ratio was not high enough for a signalised crossing.

Cllr North, who is also councillor for Alamein Ward which covers Roman Way, has been campaigning for the crossing for the last three years.

He said: “I’m pleased our persistence has paid off – and I thank cllr Humby for listening to parents, pupils and pedestrians – a proper crossing will make life a lot safer for our schoolchildren.”

In recent months, he has been joined in his campaign by fellow Conservatives cllr Locke and MP Mr Malthouse.

Cllr Locke said: “Having met concerned residents and seen first-hand the danger this route presents, I am delighted that following our meeting a signalised crossing is firmly back on the county council’s agenda.”

Mr Malthouse added: “I was very pleased with the constructive approach of Rob Humby’s offices and look forward to seeing the proposals.

"Parents and residents have expressed fears to me and it is good to see the county council responding positively.”

Andover town councillors Barbara Carpenter and Len Gates have also been campaigning for a crossing for around four years along with the school’s acting headteacher Sarah Jones, school governors, parents, pupils and residents.

More recently they have put pressure on HCC, through this paper, following reports of road rage incidents and traffic posing a danger to families and the school’s crossing patrol officers.

On hearing that plans for a crossing are now going ahead, cllr Carpenter said: “I am very pleased to hear that the school crossing is going to be put in and I would like to thank councillor Len Gates, school governor Marion Orwin, acting head Sarah Jones and former county councillor for Andover North, Tim Rolt, in supporting me to get this crossing installed.”

Ms Jones added: “I am absolutely delighted that at last Roman Way Primary School is going to have a crossing. For a long time the school governors, town councillors, residents and I have been extremely worried about the safety of our pupils.”