AFTER more than a year of campaigning, a new £166,000 crossing to aid schoolchildren on a “dangerous” Hampshire road has finally been completed, just in time for the new academic year. The puffin crossing, on Duttons Road, will allow pupils from Romsey School to cross the blind bend, a major route into the town – which is used by hundreds of vehicles a day including lorries, and make their way home safely. Last March, angry parents demanded that civic chiefs installed a traffic light-controlled crossing on the bend, in fear of their children’s safety. For many years a crossing patrolwoman, employed by Hampshire County Council, would assist pupils on their way home. But, when she retired midway through the summer term in 2016, the authority decided not to replace her. This prompted a group of parents, whose children use this crossing on the “dangerous road”, to start a petition, which gained almost 800 signatures. Now, following its installation, the designated crossing, on a blind-bend of the road, will allow pupils to cross, use a tunnel under the railway tracks and gain access to Romsey Industrial Estate – which leads to the town’s Fishlake Meadows housing estate. Claire Wise, one of the parents who spearheaded the petition, said: “I am delighted that eventually Hampshire County Council listened to our concerns as worried parents and teachers, and Councillor Mark Cooper took on the challenge for the local residents. “Our petition was supported by all, not just those with children at the school but those who use it daily for commuting. I believe that the road users will also see the benefit from the crossing and will no longer have to worry about children stepping out in front of them to see the on coming traffic. “It’s going to make such a difference to the lives of the children who walk and cycle to school, especially those coming by train who are not used to the area. I’m looking forward to my son going to school on Thursday, knowing that he will be able to cross safely from now on.” Romsey county councillor Mark Cooper, who supported the campaign, said: “Parent, Claire Wise, contacted me and I followed up by asking the county whether the crossing met highway criteria. I then ascertained there was funding that could be made available from developer contributions. “Once that was sorted it needed (the county council’s) transport and environment cabinet member Rob Humby to give his approval. The parents and I are very grateful for his support. He added: “The parents’ campaign was, and is, a classic example of local activism at its best.” The work, undertaken in August, also included a resurfacing of the road surface and the pavement approaching the crossing. Councillor Roy Perry, leader of the council, said: “I’m pleased to see this new crossing in place ready for the start of the school year for pupils at Romsey School and Romsey Abbey Primary. “The retirement of the school crossing patrol officer earlier in the year was an opportunity for us to look at a permanent and cost effective solution for people crossing the road here at any time, not just school time. “Like all county councils, Hampshire is facing financial pressures amid growing demands for children’s and adults social care so we look carefully at where we can best use one-off expenditure for long term benefit, and this puffin crossing is an excellent solution.” Colm McKavanagh, headteacher of Romsey School, said: “We are pleased that the crossing at Duttons Road which parents and school have campaigned for over the past 18 months’ has finally being installed. Pupils who will start school tomorrow and have to cross this very busy road will now have safe access to the school and other facilities in the community.”