By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas / Photograph from Harrison Primary School
TWO schools – one in Gosport, the other in Fareham – have been selected by Hampshire County Council to trial its ‘School Streets’ scheme.
The Headteacher of Alverstoke Infant School, Steph Greenwood, and her counterpart, Sara Gmitrowicz, at Harrison Primary School, Fareham, have both welcomed the opportunity to try out ways of reducing congestion outside their schools’ gates.
Approving the trial, the county council’s Executive Member for Highways Operations, Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, said: “This is a unique opportunity to encourage parents and schools to get more pupils travelling to school by walking and cycling, which will not only help to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of young people but, with far lower traffic levels at the beginning of the school day and at home time, should contribute to better air quality locally as well.”
‘Inconsiderate parking has regularly caused potential dangers for children’
The trials start in mid-July and continue through the autumn term. Streets near the schools will be closed at the dropping off and collection times – 08.15 to 09.00 and 14.45 to 15.30 – on school days, and stewards in high-visibility vests will be on hand at the temporary barriers to prevent parents driving into the closed-off areas.
There are to be some exemptions: vehicles of residents, emergency services, school transport, blue badge holders, deliveries, and carers of residents will be allowed to enter the closed zone.
Steph Greenwood told The Globe that, “inconsiderate parking has regularly caused potential dangers for children” as they come to school and go home. And she described the junction of Ashburton Road and Paget Road as, “a pinch point”.
A third school – Cadland Primary School at Holbury in the New Forest – is also involved in the trials.
Hampshire County Council will be surveying those affected by the schemes – residents, businesses, and the school community – and the views expressed will be used to make decisions about future, permanent School Streets schemes.