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Stone-throwing prompts safety concerns for bridge at new Stortford secondary school

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Bishop's Stortford North secondary school plans (6331004)
Bishop's Stortford North secondary school plans (6331004)

A councillor is campaigning for a bridge to be used by students at Bishop’s Stortford’s new secondary school to have special safety features.

Cllr Colin Woodward’s call was prompted by allegations of stone-throwing along the A120 bypass.

The new campus at Bishop's Stortford North will be bisected by the road, and highways and education authority Herts County Council is planning a bridge so students can access the school's playing fields safely on foot.

In all, the council is planning three schools – one secondary and two primaries – to serve more than 2,600 new homes being built within the boundary of the bypass at Stortford Fields and St Michael’s Hurst. The secondary is set to open in 2022-23.

Cllr Woodward, a member of the town, East Herts district and county councils, wants the school’s walkway to be enclosed so it cannot be used as a vantage point for vandals. He has raised his concerns with the highways authority as part of wider lobbying for measures such as higher parapets to be added at problem locations.

He highlighted incidents reported on social media of missiles being hurled from the Farnham Road bridge and has told the county council: “For several years now there have been damaged windscreens, and it seems if action isn’t taken we may have a serious RTC [road traffic collision] or injury occur.”

While investigating his request, the highways department consulted Hertfordshire police about recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour along the A120 bypass and were told that despite the anecdotal evidence, no crimes had been recorded.

A response to Cllr Woodward from the authority added: “We have also checked the Herts County Council accident data and there are no recorded incidents relating to highway structures along the A120 bypass.”

It added that although the council would continue to monitor the situation, bridge design was not to blame for anti-social behaviour, and existing structures had not been designed to be modified and there were no plans to upgrade the parapets along the A120.

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