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Snow-closed Billy Row school re-opens thanks to frustrated parents and staff
ANGRY staff and parents fed up of waiting for the council to clear a snow-covered road rolled up their sleeves and tackled the job themselves so their children could finally get to school.
Peases West Primary School in Billy Row, County Durham, had been closed since Monday as more than a foot of snow made the lane leading up to the school impassable.
Headteacher Alison Johnson had been told by Durham County Council that clearing the road was a priority, but this morning (January 24), after three days of waiting, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Mrs Johnson issued a rallying cry to staff, governors and parents of pupils who spent two hours clearing the road and school car park enabling the school to re-open at lunchtime.
And they completed the job just as weather forecasters predicted another heavy snowfall due tomorrow afternoon (January 25).
Mrs Johnson said she had no choice but to close the school on Monday as no vehicles, including emergency services, would have been able to reach it.
She said: “I know it is frustrating for parents when the school’s closed but believe me, it’s just as frustrating for me.
“On Tuesday I was assured the school was an urgent priority for clearance and the lane would be cleared that afternoon, the same happened on Wednesday.
“Whilst we appreciate that the council are extremely busy during times of inclement weather, we are disappointed and frustrated that that did not happen.
“In the end we decided to do it ourselves and I would like to thank all volunteers for their exceptional hard work and community spirit.
“A special thank you must go to the school site manager Chris Mason and former parent Mick Parker who led the clear up.”
One mother, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s not the school’s fault, the problem is the road not being cleared, it’s ridiculous.
“It makes childcare very difficult, fortunately my daughter has been able to come to work with me but for others it is not possible.”
The school re-opened at 1pm, 10 minutes before a snow plough arrived from the council, with 35 of the school’s 132 pupils arriving for classes.
Mark Readman, highways operation manager at the council, apologised to the school but said teams have been working round the clock to clear 45 per cent of roads totaling 1,000 miles across the county.
He said: “County Durham has experienced extremely difficult weather conditions in the last week .
“A request to plough the road outside the school was received late on Tuesday and we advised on Wednesday that the road would be checked and ploughed as necessary on Thursday.
“We have been out and cleared the road this afternoon (January 24).”
A final flurry of winter is expected this weekend with between 2cm and 5cm of snow falling along the east coast and up to 20cm falling on the upland hill areas of North Yorkshire and County Durham tomorrow afternoon (January 25) into Saturday morning.
Temperatures are expected to rise slightly on Saturday with heavy rain due overnight into Sunday morning.
A spokesman for the Met Office said flooding caused by thawing is possible and advised residents to keep an eye on the Environment Agency’s website for warnings.
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