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Parents call for action over flooded school route tunnel

jpco-5-2-14 Flooded school walk - Train tunnel between Marion Road in Furnace Green and Oriel School,  Maidenbower  (Pic by Jon Rigby)

jpco-5-2-14 Flooded school walk - Train tunnel between Marion Road in Furnace Green and Oriel School, Maidenbower (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Hundreds have signed a petition in a bid to stop children having to pass through a flooded tunnel to get to school.

A mother set up an e-petition after she saw Oriel High School pupils forced to walk through - or go home - after coming across knee-high water.

The flood-prone tunnel runs under the railway line and links Marion Road, in Furnace Green, to Maidenbower Lane, by the school.

Tabiba Khanum, 37, of Sherwood Road, Furnace Green, said: “It was heart-breaking to see kids just turning back and say they are not going to school.

“The traffic around Three Bridges is terrible. A couple of weeks ago, it took me three hours to drive my daughter to school and to get back.

“I offered a lift to my daughter’s friends so I could be some help but there’s only so much one car can do.”

Nearly 300 people added their name to Tabiba’s petition which was directed at Network rail and the borough and county councils.

Tabiba said: “Some of the parents are quite furious.

“It was my daughter’s idea to start the petition - she wanted to do something more about it.

“I felt responsible as a parent so I wanted to take some action.”

Some pupils had to walk for an hour-and-a-half to attend school, she added.

‘Stressedoutmum’ added her name to the online petition. She wrote: “It is definitely worse than it was.

“We thought at the end of 2012 when they closed it for works that it was getting sorted then.

“It is now causing disruption to so many peoples lives, something needs to be done now!”

Others expressed concerns over disruption to their children’s education.

A number complained about poor traffic conditions in Three Bridges for parents driving their children to Oriel after the tunnel flooded.

Philip Stack, headteacher at Oriel High School, said he shared parents’ frustration with the lack of action by those responsible.

He agreed to forward the petition to pupils’ parents.

Oriel High School also used social media to further raise awareness of the flooding.

Tabiba wrote to Cllr Chris Oxlade (Lab, Ifield), Cllr Duncan Crow (Con, Furnace Green) and Henry Smith MP about the issue.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “This is a problem that needs to be fixed as soon as possible and we are working with the local authority find a solution.

“Plans are being drawn up to fix the drainage of the tunnel and we are hoping to get the work underway shortly.”

A spokesman for Crawley Borough Council said: “This is an issue for land owners Network Rail, working with West Sussex County Council.

“It’s not CBC’s responsibility but we have been working to try and find a resolution with Network Rail.”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “We welcome this petition and will investigate solutions with the other agencies involved.”

The school used its mini-bus to ferry pupils from one side to the other during floods last year.

A spokesman for the school said the tunnel flooded three times from October to December 2013.

An emergency meeting was held this week by the interested parties as a result of the petition.

For a link to the petition, visit http://www.petitions24.com/flooding_of_maidenbowerfurnace_green_bridleway

What do you think? Email: crawleyobserver@jpress.co.uk

 

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