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Call for Improvements to Cinder Track School Walking Route in Whitby

Tuesday, 11 June 2024 06:00

By Anttoni James Numminen, Local Democracy Reporter and Matthew Pells

Local councillors say they will look at more improvements to school walking routes on parts of Whitby's Cinder Track.

Concerns had been raised after North Yorkshire Council said the section from Stainsacre to Caedmon College is a safe walking route and meets national guidelines.

Some parents were concerned about the lack of lighting - something which isn't covered by the guidelines.

Councillor Liz Colling chairs the Council's local area committee, they discussed the route on Friday, and had a number of issues they want to explore further.

North Yorkshire Council evaluated whether the walking route from Stainsacre to Whitby was appropriately safe for children going to school after parents raised concerns.

It concluded that the route via the Cinder Track is a safe walk to school for children when “accompanied as necessary” despite a lack of street lighting.

Speaking at the meeting on Friday, June 7, Coun Subash Sharma said that

“the whole thing hinges on the definition of ‘reasonable”.

He added:

“Personal safety isn’t something that you take into account but it’s the one thing everybody is very concerned about as a parent.”

However, the council’s ‘safe walk route assessor’ defended the assessment which is based on national guidance.

An officer said:

“There is no expectation that children will walk or that they will walk alone, and clearly it is a decision for the parents to make the most suitable arrangements for their child to get to school”.

Officers added that the assessment covers “the relationship between the pedestrian and traffic, not other factors that relate to that walking route” such as street lighting.

Coun Heather Phillips said:

“I think I would rather my child walk on the Cinder Track than next to a road because there is less conflict with traffic”.

Whitby councillor Neil Swannick, thinks the more people who use the path on a regular basis the less intimidating it will be.

Councillor David Chance also emphasised parental responsibility but added that he also had “concerns about the safety of the Cinder Track”, especially as there would be more children “walking from the east side to Caedmon”

Councillors concluded that they were most concerned with North Yorkshire Council’s responsibility in maintaining the Cinder Track.

They called on the authority to make improvements and recommended the introduction of street lighting, a walking bus, and better pedestrian crossings at school walking routes in Whitby.

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