Council to decide on cycle path

A PLAN to build a cycle-path to improve access for students travelling to Wayland High School will be decided by councillors later this month.

A PLAN to build a cycle-path to improve access for students travelling to Wayland High School will be decided by councillors later this month.

The proposals are for a shared footpath and cycleway which would give an additional entrance to the rear of the Watton school, and could reduce congestion at the main entrance on Merton Road.

If approved, the 170m path would run from Monkhams Drive across Thetford Road, alongside a field on one side and Churchill Close on the other before entering the school's grounds.

Norfolk County Council also plans a new toucan crossing on Thetford Road to complement the scheme.

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About 50 objections have been lodged with planners, many from Churchill Road residents who feared that a planned hedge barrier between the path and the residential street was inadequate, and would lead to an unacceptable increase in traffic and noise.

But the plans have since been amended to include a two-metre chain-link fence to prevent access to the close.

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Planning officers have recommended the scheme should be approved when Breckland Council's development control committee discuss the application on July 12.

Angela Pilsworth, the school's business manager, said: 'Watton is expanding quite considerably from Carbrooke direction and this gives all those students access to the school from Thetford Road, rather than having to come all the way round to Merton Road.

'Hopefully it will also help reduce congestion on Merton Road, especially at busy times of the day.

'Thirdly, we want to encourage to students to walk or cycle to school because it is better for their health, better for the environment, and it gives them more road sense.'

A report by planning officers says: 'The application has been amended taking into account the significant local concern regarding allowing access from Churchill Close. The proposal is unlikely to have a significant adverse impact on residential amenity.'

Among the other objections lodged with planners were that the scheme was uneconomical and gave no consideration for children's safety when crossing the busy Thetford Road.

Colin Rope, highways team leader at the county council's contractors Mott MacDonald, said: 'We have been talking to local residents about their concerns and we are looking at alternative locations for the toucan crossing in response to those concerns.'

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