Drivers will be warned to slow down in danger spots near schools if councillors give the go-ahead to create new safety zones.

Flashing lights, warning signs and lower speed limits are part of the package which aims to stop accidents outside the gates of more than 50 schools in West Sussex.

The measures are being proposed as part of a £750,000 scheme to encourage children to walk or cycle to school.

In Crawley between 2001 and 2005, 21 accidents happened near Pound Hill Junior and Middle Schools in Crawley, with three children involved.

Five children were involved in accidents near Three Bridges Infant School in Gales Place and Three Bridges Junior School in Gales Drive in the same period.

Five children were injured outside Desmond Anderson Primary School in Anderson Road, Tilgate, four outside St Andrews CE Primary School in Weald Drive, Furnace Green, and two outside Oriel High School in Maidenbower Lane.

West Sussex County Council's East Crawley County Local Committee is meeting next week (Wed May 16) to decide whether to introduce the new School Safety Zones outside those schools.

If the plan is approved, road markings, amber flashing lights, chicanes and a recommended 20mph speed limit will be brought in over the next three years to prevent accidents when children arrive at or leave school.

Schools in Burgess Hill, Worthing, Hassocks, Bognor and East Grinstead are also in line for the work.

David Dewdney, Conservative councillor for Pound Hill, Worth and Maidenbower, said: "There is a whole raft of things we are putting in place."

He said traffic calming and parking restrictions could make the areas outside schools safer - and make it easier for parents to allow their children to walk to school in safety.

He said: "These days so many parents are concerned about getting their youngsters to school they insist on driving them there, and create even more danger in the process."

Road safety across Sussex got a boost yesterday when Government minister Dr Stephen Ladyman announced Brighton and Hove and West Sussex will share in a £4 million grant.

Brighton and Hove City Council is getting £771,000 for education, engineering work and a publicity scheme, while West Sussex County Council is getting £420,000 for engineering work.

Dr Ladyman said: "Road safety is an area where local projects can, and do, work extremely well and I am committed to encouraging communities to try and improve their road safety records.

"These schemes intend to tackle a range of issues - from seat belt use to improving the safety of child pedestrians; from tackling motorcycle safety to working with young drivers or those that drive for work."

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