Public footpath diversion consultation
In order to enhance safety for the children and staff that attend the school alongside the local community, Dame Janet Primary Academy are proposing that the current route of the footpath running through the site be diverted.
Situated in Ramsgate, Dame Janet Primary Academy opened in December 2012. Before this the schools were split – Dame Janet Community Infant and Junior schools. The schools are divided by the public footpath TR 27, which runs between the two sites providing access to the Jackie Bakers playing fields.
We are a 3-form entry academy from Reception Year up to Year 6 – with a majority of children attending living in the immediate local areas.
Dame Janet Primary Academy also has a nursery on its site, operated by the academy.
The main entrance to gain access to the site is situated on Newington Road for both the Upper and Lower site, a busy main road.
The current footpath and the proposed routes are shown as follows.
The existing footpath
The proposed new footpath
The academy have a number of reasons to wish to make the change of route to this footpath. We have laid these out below.
Safety of children and staff moving between sites
Safety in schools is a concern that is closely monitored, with risks minimised in every possible way to ensure the safety of both children and staff that attend. The footpath that runs through the sites at Dame Janet has always added additional concern surrounding safety. In order to move between sites, children (and staff) have to exit the school onto Newington Rd. The introduction of a diverted footpath would allow the site at Dame Janet to be joined and would alleviate this issue.
Communication in an emergency
With the two sites being separate, this creates hurdles that need to be overcome to ensure a smooth running of the academy. A split site leads to a need for a split fire alarm system, split evacuation points, different places to sign in and out – even split addresses registered with the emergency services.
Dame Janet was put to the test during a recent bomb scare (27th May 2016) when both sites had to be evacuated for a long period to their separate evacuation points. Having the different points divided by a footpath, it became challenging for staff to communicate with the emergency services. Having one site and one evacuation point would have removed many of the challenges faced.
Security of the school
The current footpath has good tree cover, and is overgrown. In the past this has led to an ideal place to access the school away from vision.
Recently the school has experienced a number of break-ins where access has been gained from the footpath. We have also, in recent months, had people camping along the footpath and on the land belonging to the academy at the rear of the site.
By relocating the footpath, the academy proposes to make this a lit path with the possibility of coverage from the schools’ CCTV.
Provision of a safer access route to the Jackie Baker site
The current footpath is not lit. At night, this path with good tree cover becomes completely dark with many places along the path that people can hide. By relocating the footpath, the academy propose to make this a lit path with the possibility of coverage from CCTV enhancing the safety for the local users of the footpath gaining access to the Jackie Baker site.
Ability to create an improved entrance and exit system for the academy
Newington Road is a busy road. During peak times, cars regularly stop on the road to drop children off. By diverting this footpath, the academy would be able to create a pick up / drop off area – off of the road – for parents and their children to use. This would reduce traffic on Newington Road and improve safety for those who use it.
Ability to develop the site in the future to enhance education provision
As the school grows in its success, and the local area housing developments create a need for additional school places, the academy would like to be better positioned to be able to make the necessary changes to accommodate such a need.
Frequently Asked Questions
For your convenience, please find below the commonly asked questions surrounding the project.
When will the works happen?
Should the project be given the green light, the academy will work to complete the project as soon as possible. However, it is expected to cause disruption to the running of the academy – so we would look to complete this during holiday periods as much as possible.
Will you close the current footpath first?
Should the project be given the green light, the first stage of the works will be to construct the new path. The current footpath will remain in place until the new, improved path is complete and ready to use.
Where will the new footpath be?
The new path will be accessed from Stirling Way – next to the allotment entrance. This will run along the rear of the school site – coming out at the current entrance to the footpath from the Jackie Bakers site.
When did you apply to divert the footpath?
The school sought council support for the footpath diversion project back in 2017. Thanet District Council gave their support for the project, allowing us to apply in early 2018.
Why has it taken so long to get to this point?
With many footpaths across Kent, the Public Rights of Way Team work very hard to get to these applications as quickly as possible. As indicated when we submitted the application – it would take about 2 years.
What will you do to help stop motorcycles using the path to gain access to Jackie Bakers?
The academy regularly hears small motorbikes going along this path and onto Jackie Bakers. We would propose to put in safety barriers at each end of the new path to help to reduce this.
Will the new path be lit properly?
At night, the new path will be lit all along its route. This, along with reduced, managed vegetation on the school side of the fence line, will provide for a safer foot path.
What will the new path be constructed of?
As a minimum, the academy must create the diverted path as good as the old path. We intend to surface the new path with tarmac.
What will happen to the trees along the current path?
Dame Janet recognise the need to protect the environment.
We are a recognised eco-school, encourage and make great use of our Forest School for outdoor learning and try our best to implement green energy initiatives such as solar panels, LED lighting and improved heating and insulation.
Along the current footpath there are a number of small trees and overgrown bushes – Many of which are not maintained. To create the change at the academy we would need to remove these.
It is our intention along the new fence line for the footpath, but managed within our site, to plant new trees.
Do Thanet District Council support the diversion?
Thanet District Council, as freeholder of the land occupied by the section of public footpath which divides the school site, has no objection to the diversion of that footpath to an alternative route around the edge of, but within, the school site.