A protest group has claimed more than 240 schoolchildren will be used as “sacrificial lambs” to solve a bustling village’s traffic woes.
The Broughton Bypass Review Group pleaded for a rethink on the route of the proposed ring road on the final day of a six-day public inquiry.
The bypass is set to swallow up some of the school’s playing fields and leave the youngsters’ classrooms facing out onto a busy highway.
But group spokesman Chris Couper told government inspector Diane Lewis: “It would appear that the 240-plus schoolchildren are the sacrificial lambs in this project for the benefit of others in the village of Broughton because the road simply is in the wrong location.
“We question whether the human rights of 240-plus primary age children, their right to life, health and wellbeing, acceptable air quality and noise levels are being satisfactorily considered.
“The increased difficulty and safety issues arising from traversing along a pavement directly adjacent to an additional six lanes of apparently fast-moving traffic is another serious problem.
“A more cautious and long-term approach is necessary, otherwise the existing environmental problems at Broughton crossroads will simply be transferred to the area of the parish church and primary school.”
In its closing address to the inquiry, the group raised concerns about air and noise pollution, visual intrusion into a peaceful rural setting, potential flooding problems and car park issues. Mr Couper said: “It is about the schoolchildren, the staff and carers at the school, the parishioners of Broughton Church and the peaceful rural setting it enjoys at present. It is about future generations.”
But John Barrett, for the county council, dismissed the group’s claims and said the weight of existing traffic problems on the A6 at Broughton crossroads have already hampered one generation’s health.
“The bypass has been much needed for decades,” he said. “For a generation residents have been exposed to quite unacceptable levels of noise and pollution.The bypass will address the existing unacceptable situation. It is recognised that the acquisition of land directly engages human rights considerations, but the interference with such rights is justified in the wider public interest.”