DUDLEY College’s boss has blasted councillors for a “ridiculous” decision he says could put students in danger.
Members of Dudley Council’s planning committee rejected an application for a pedestrian crossing across The Broadway in the town’s Learning Quarter, which left principal Lowell Williams fuming after the authority’s own planning officers recommended approval.
Committee members ruled the proposed Puffin-style crossing would cause air pollution and be detrimental to the amenity of the area but Mr Williams intends to challenge their conclusion.
He said: “There is a pressing need for a crossing and I am astounded that our application has been rejected.
“The college will be lodging an appeal as pedestrians are still in danger of being injured whilst crossing this busy road. The appeal will take time and money, which could be used to better effect.”
Development Control committee chairman, Cllr Qadar Zada, is however taking no lessons in planning policy from the peeved principal.
He said: “It is irresponsible of the college to make statements around students having accidents, we take that responsibility very seriously – to suggest otherwise is a cause for concern.
“There is a crossing approximately 30 yards from where they proposed, the proposed crossing isn’t even at the main entrance to the campus.”
Dudley College has invested £36m in the Learning Quarter which includes the development of a major learning centre for sixth form students, a vocational training campus and a manufacturing education centre which is set to open later this year.
Mr Williams said: “The assertion that the creation of the crossing would be detrimental to the amenity of the area is disappointing and frankly a little ridiculous.”
“The addition of a controlled crossing had always been a requirement in the development of the Dudley Learning Quarter.”
He also agrees with council officers who reported there would be no extra traffic congestion as a result of the crossing and no detriment to air quality.
He said: “Their own officer claimed there would be no significant pollution. At peak times the highest amount of cars that would be backed up at the crossing would be eight.
“I can only hope that an accident doesn’t occur whilst we are trying to reverse this poor decision. Committee members will need to take responsibility for their actions if such an unfortunate event were to occur.”
Cllr Zada hit back, he said: “We welcome the role the college plays in the community and the amount of investment but that doesn’t give them the automatic entitlement to have what they ask for.
“Eight or one car - It’s irrelevant, within that area air quality is poor, why would we make it worse? The decision was unanimous.”