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School safety petition launched amid concerns over increased Game of Thrones traffic

Ballydown Primary School, Banbridge

A petition to lower speed at a Banbridge school has been launched by the Lord Mayor who claims the problem will be exacerbated by traffic visiting the newly opened Game of Thrones venue.

Glenn Barr of the UUP started the petition for Ballydown Primary School on Friday morning on the change.org site and within hours it had over 500 signatures.

The school is located on the Lisnaree Road, but part of its playground backs onto the main Castlewellan Road running adjacent. The speed limit on both roads is 60mph.

Just two weeks ago, Alderman Barr met Game of Thrones cast members at the official opening of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at the Linen Mill Studios on the Castlewellan Road.

He said that while the Game of Thrones was a great boost for the area and he fully supported it, the worry was that additional buses and cars would be using the Castlewellan Road to get to the new tour venue.

Although there is no onsite parking at the studios – all visitors must park at The Boulevard before taking a shuttle bus – he said the fear was that people would try to go and see where the studio was before parking.

Alderman Barr, who recently met the principal and has been talking to concerned parents, said the Castlewellan Road was notorious for accidents and car crashes.

He said the speeding concerns at the school were long-running and that he had previously lobbied for 20mph zones for all schools during operational hours.

“My understanding is that because the school fronts on to the Lisnaree Road, and the main road runs parallel to it, Road Service have said it doesn’t meet the criteria, so I am waiting for a response from them,” he said.

“I have met with them and asked how other schools whose frontage is set back have managed to get the reduced speed zones.”

The petition says: “We, the concerned parents of pupils at Ballydown and residents of Banbridge and surrounding environs call on the relevant authorities ie Education Authority/DFI roads service to introduce speed control and safety measures at Ballydown Primary School to safeguard our children.”

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