THE safety of children at a village primary school could be at risk after council chiefs refused to grit the road, a local councillor has said.

A petition signed by parents and governors at St Paul’s Primary School, Hoddlesden, asking for Bayne Street to be gritted was rejected at an executive board meeting of Blackburn with Darwen Council last week.

East Rural councillor Julie Slater reacted angrily, saying the road could become very dangerous in winter.

At the meeting, Coun Tony Humphrys, executive member for schools and education at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “The school is in a dip. Could we not look at it again?

“It is a difficult road. This situation applies to several schools in the borough.”

But Coun Dave Harling, executive member for regeneration, which covers highways, said: “We are already struggling to grit the routes we have to in time.

“It is unfortunate that the school was given the impression we could grit the road, but we cannot.

“For the grit and salt to work, it has to have traffic flowing over it and this would not happen.

“There are lots of roads we would like to salt, each taking two minutes, but we just cannot do them.

“We have to treat the primary and secondary routes.”

Councillors agreed to give the school a bag of salt in a bid to clear the pavements.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Julie Slater said: “Tony Humphrys told me they were going to pass it, then Dave Harling said they couldn’t. He said it would open the floodgates and everyone would want their roads gritting.

“But this is about the safety of parents and children.

“If the school closes it gets penalised by Ofsted. The teachers and governers are fuming.”

Coun Slater said the council had ignored the concerns of village residents.

She said: “It is a busy road. And the offer of salt isn’t enough. We had a grit squad last year but it just didn’t work. When we had bad ice last year we had people crawling on their hands and knees as they couldn’t walk.”