PARENTS of children at a Worcester school are being urged to write to the county council to support a scheme to help save lives.

Worcester MP Mike Foster is seeking "parent power" to help win backing for a reduction in speed limits to 20mph outside Red Hill C of E Primary School.

He says he is surprised that Conservative members of Worcestershire County Council decided to object to the Safer Routes to School programme, which would make streets safer for children.

"I find it unbelievable that these councillors object to the scheme," said the MP.

"Slowing traffic down will mean safer streets for all, not just children, and could save lives. What possible motive could lie behind this sustained opposition?"

The Labour MP says local residents have suggested that because the scheme has his backing the Conservative councillors have decided to object.

"Such a narrow-minded and vindictive attitude would be extraordinary. That is why I have asked parents to have their say," he said.

"It's their children who attend the school and would be protected by the scheme. If the councillors continue to object then the parents know where the buck stops."

The scheme would be one of many to be implemented across the city, should the council offer its support.

Although its main advantage would be to save lives, local headteachers say it has other benefits.

"The Safer Routes to School would attempt to promote healthy attitudes and exercise to children," said Richard Buttle, headteacher at Red Hill C of E Primary School.

"It also encourages parents to feel that they can walk children into school, or even cycle with them. That's the prime motivation."

Councillor Robert Rowden, Conservative leader on Worcester City Council, said his objections were not political, but made out of consideration for local residents.

"A lot of residents in the surrounding roads have objected, not to the 20mph speed limit but to the humps that come with the scheme. We are not trying to throw the scheme out, but to make it reasonable," said Coun Rowden.

Parents have until on Friday, November 17, to formally write in support of the scheme.

Anyone wishing to back it should write to Simon Mallinson, head of legal services at County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester WR5 2NP.