Olympic flame parade sparks safety concern in Aspatria
Last updated at 19:48, Thursday, 17 May 2012
Concern has been raised about a decision not to close Aspatria’s main street to traffic during next month’s Olympic torch relay through the town.
Already one local school has decided not to take its children to see the torch pass by because of safety fears.
The torch relay through West Cumbria on Thursday, June 21, is being organised by a planning group of highways officials, police, the county and district councils.
An Allerdale council spokeswoman said the group had assessed the situation in Aspatria and decided that a closure of the busy A596 was not required.
Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets as the torch passes through Aspatria, starting at about 11.40am.
The council spokeswoman said: “The risks were assessed and the group decided that the school children would have to be helped over the road by a steward or a PCSO
“The council is continuing to have conversations with schools and communities along the route in Allerdale to do what it can to address their concerns.”
Holme St Cuthbert, at Mawbray, has already decided not to take children to see the torch in Aspatria because of safety worries.
Headteacher Shelagh Daniels said she did not feel she could guarantee the safety of her pupils.
She said: “I have told parents that I am happy if they want to take their children to see the torch but we will not go as a school.
“I am also giving out details of when the torch passes through Cockermouth because I think that will be safer there.”
Alan Reay, mayor of Aspatria, said hundreds of children would want to watch the torch.
He said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and I can’t see why the road could not be closed for the half hour or so it would take for the torch to pass through.
“We have to get all these children on to one side of the road and ensure that pupils from Richmond Hill and Beacon Hill schools are able to cross the road safely to take up their position.”
Cumbria police said safety was of primary importance.
But a spokeswoman added: “Police will be on hand in the event of an emergency, however crowd safety and applications for road closures is the responsibility of the district councils who have invited the torch into their areas.”
The torch will arrive in Maryport at about 12.10pm, where it will travel past Netherhall Corner and continue along Curzon Street and Main Road to Flimby.
First published at 19:21, Thursday, 17 May 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Are the safety fears over the fact fire is yet to be invented in Aspatria? ;)
Typical! One of the few times Aspatria has actually something to be proud of and we can't even celebrate it safely! We can close the road off for a couple of hours to allow the gala procession through for a local event but for a news worthy event that brings people into the town we can't even close the road off for 15-30 minutes to celebrate a once in a lifetime event!
View all 5 comments on this article