School route spells danger: councillors

Harry McGuigan
Harry McGuigan
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Pupils who normally walk to a Bellshill school should be given a free bus because the route they use is dangerous.

The call came from a senior councillor after a first year boy at Cardinal Newman High was knocked down by a car as he crossed a slip road to the A725 at Bellziehill roundabout. The youngster was taken to hospital after the collision at lunchtime last Wednesday, but headteacher Kenneth Ross said he is expected to make a full recovery.

Slip road where boy was hit last week

Slip road where boy was hit last week

Pupils going to and from the McDonalds at Bellziehill cross the slip road. Last year the Speaker highlighted concerns about pedestrian safety raised by Councillor Harry McGuigan, a former leader of North Lanarkshire Council.

This week he said he has pressed for action there over recent months but acknowledged the situation is complicated because responsibility for the A725, a trunk road, lies with the Scottish Government and not the council.

Councillor McGuigan, who steps down as a councillor this week after 33 years, said options include traffic lights and a footbridge, but no plans are on the table.

In the meantime, he wants the council to provide free transport even if pupils would not normally qualify.

Councillor McGuigan said: “The council has a responsibility to ensure children get to and from school safely, but a safe walking route cannot be identified so we should provide transport. The situation is unacceptable. Something must be done with regard to the safety of youngsters although I accept that doesn’t prevent them crossing this road at lunchtime.”

The boy injured last week was said to have been in a group of around six pupils going back to the school from the direction of McDonalds.

More on this story in the Bellshill Speaker, on sale today.