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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Roads will stay open for Workington's Olympic torch relay

Workington's roads will remain open to traffic during the Olympic torch relay next month, when thousands of people will line the route.

The group co-ordinating the Olympic torch event on Thursday, June 21, last night explained why it had decided against road closures.

But one local school has already decided not to organise a whole-school trip to see the relay because of concerns for safety.

Mike Kidd, acting headteacher at Seaton Junior School, said it was too hazardous for the whole school to make the journey together and mingle with crowds.

He said: “Because we have got 220 kids it is too risky to try to marshal.

“If there was a cordoned off area that would be fine, but on an open street it would be too easy to lose a child.”

He said, however, that parents were being encouraged to take their children out of school themselves for the relay.

“It’s very important that the children get to see it because it is a once in a lifetime event,” he added.

The Workington leg of the nationwide relay will start at the roundabout on New Bridge Road at 1pm.

Torch bearers will head through the town centre via Church Street, Falcon Street, Station Road, Oxford Street, Jane Street, Washington Street and Ramsay Brow to Stainburn School.

The torch will then head back to Harrington Road and along Moss Bay Road, finishing at the junction with Poole Road.

A countywide planning group, which includes councils, police and the Highways Agency, has agreed a traffic management plan.

Traffic flow will be managed by police.

A Metropolitan Police Service motorcycle escort will travel with the torch, along with five or six Cumbria police motorcycle outriders.

Parking restrictions will be in place and routine roadworks suspended.

Pedestrian crossings will have their lights switched off while the relay passes through and will be managed by Allerdale council officers, PCSOs or volunteer stewards.

Police will have overall control of the convoy, which will be followed by an ambulance.

At Beckstone Primary School in Harrington, headteacher David Warbrick has invited parents to take their children out of school for the event.

He said the school was not arranging its own trip because of concern over the distance from the school to the relay route, the crowds and issues such as lack of toilets.

Anne Tait, headteacher of St Michael’s Infant and Nursery School, said her staff would take children on to Station Road to watch from behind railings which would protect them.

She added: “We wouldn’t be taking them out if we didn’t feel they’d be safe.”

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