THE HEADTEACHER of a Basingstoke secondary school has hit out at motorists who have verbally abused him and his staff over a road closure.

Chris Edwards, from Brighton Hill Community School, says that staff have been shouted at by motorists unable to cut through the Asda car park to by-pass the Brighton Way road closure.

It has been agreed by the supermarket that the road linking the two ends of the car park should be closed at the zebra crossing for 40 minutes in the morning and afternoon, to allow children entering and leaving the secondary school to do so safely.

Basingstoke Gazette:

But Mr Edwards says that he and his staff have been verbally abused by impatient motorists unwilling to take the signposted diversion - an extra journey time of six minutes - some of whom instead try and remove the barriers that he is protecting.

"It is a bit demoralising," he told The Gazette, "especially now when people realise what is going on in schools and people aren't able to make the smallest of sacrifices.

"The vast majority have been absolutely brilliant and supportive. All of our parents have been lovely but the message would be that we didn't ask for the road works, we are just trying to keep our children safe, if they can support us we can all have a merry lead up to Christmas."

Basingstoke Gazette:

Mr Edwards said that every time he goes out to close the road, there is at least one person openly abusive and three or four that demand the barriers are removed for them to get through.

Excuses offered up by motorists include having frozen shopping in the car, the satnav taking them through the car park, asking whether he has the power to close the road and those complaining that the 6-minute trip around the blockage actually takes 30 minutes.

He said that one person told him: "I'm not here to run children over, I'm just here to cut through."

And he revealed that before they were given barriers, one motorist drove at him whilst he was standing in the road.

"It is annoying, but there is a bigger picture here. Just drive around."

Basingstoke Gazette:

The 960 pupils at one of the biggest secondary schools in the town all have to file in and out of the school in a 30-minute period, keeping to their year group bubbles which have staggered entry and exit times.

But after Brighton Way closed to traffic between the two mini roundabouts last Monday, rather than taking the signposted diversion via Hatch Warren Way, some motorists are cutting through the Asda car park, ignoring the 'No Through Road' signs at either end.

"You can watch the cars coming down, going through the car park and coming out," Mr Edwards added, saying that the volume of traffic going through and the speed at which they're travelling are posing a risk to the children.

After Asda complained of the permanent barrier placed there originally, saying it was impacting on their profits, they agreed to a closure between 8 and 8.40am, and 2.30 and 3.10pm.

As it is part of the car park, the road belongs to Asda and not Hampshire County Council.