CAMPAIGNERS are calling on the county council to build pedestrian crossings to make walking to school safer for children.

Parents in Oxford want new crossings to be installed in three locations to improve the safety of youngsters walking to three schools.

On Sunday parents and children in Florence Park held a demonstration to highlight their cause.

The group wants crossings to be put in at the junctions of Campbell Road and Littlehay Road with Cornwallis Road as they are concerned about the safety of children walking to Larkrise Primary School and St Gregory’s.

Five-year-old Leo Noble, of Campbell Road, goes to Larkrise and said: “I would like a zebra crossing so I can go to school safely.”

His mum Sophia Swithern said: “There is a visibility issue for us. We have to be halfway across the road to be able to see traffic and with the boys on their scooters it can be very dangerous.”

Viv Peto, an organiser of the Florence Park demo, said: “We feel Cornwallis and Littlehay Roads have poor or insufficient traffic calming and signage, particularly as children from four local schools cross these roads regularly.

“Ideally we would like the zebra crossings and bigger and clearer, well-painted signs.”

County council ward member for Cowley John Sander said it would cost about £50,000 for the new crossings in Florence Park.

He said: “There is a new sign warning motorists that the route is frequented by children I have had put up in a couple of places.

“But there are very dangerous places on that route.”

In Marston, nine-year-old Raffy Kemp is spearheading a campaign and has asked his city councillor Roy Darke for help in getting a new crossing between Cherwell Drive and Oxford Road, which is on his route to St Nicholas’ Primary School. It is also a route for Cherwell School students.

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  • The Marston protest   Picture: OX65640 Cliff Hide

Raffy, of Ouseley Close, said: “It is not very safe. Sometimes the cars slow down for you, but quite a lot of the time, the cars carry on. I have had to wait up to two minutes to cross.

“I would prefer a crossing there because it is permanent. Quite a lot of us at my school are concerned.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said the issue was a concern across his constituency.

He said: “One thing which understandably annoys parents is that the county council will refer to the accident record, so you only get a pedestrian crossing after serious accidents rather than before.

“The view of the public, which I support, is that this is an area where prevention is better than waiting for a tragedy to happen.”

Headington Hill and Northway councillor Roy Darke said: “Frankly the county ought to be much more aware and sympathetic to the needs of cyclists and pedestrians rather than employee safety (although that is important too).

“Minor delays to motorists to the benefit of children’s safety seems a no brainer.”

County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “While we understand the desire to have a crossing, we have to target our limited resources at the areas where there is the most need.”