Biggleswade school ‘disappointed’ with council scheme to limit school-run traffic

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The council says it is looking to “create a safer environment for children getting to and from school”

The principal of a school in Biggleswade has said she is ‘disappointed’ by Central Bedfordshire Council’s decision to limit traffic around the school for a six-month trial period.

The council has approved a traffic management scheme on Lawnside, next to Lawnside Academy, during school pick-up and drop-off times.

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The scheme means the cul-de-sac will be under a Experimental Traffic Regulation Order with only pedestrians, cyclists and permit holders allowed on the road from 7.30am to 9am and 2.30pm to 4pm weekdays during term time. It is likely to be trialled for six months.

Lawnside Academy. Picture: Google MapsLawnside Academy. Picture: Google Maps
Lawnside Academy. Picture: Google Maps

But the school has said it is disappointed in the decision and expressed concerns about the scheme.

Cheryl Johnson, principal of Lawnside Academy, said: “We are disappointed Central Bedfordshire Council has chosen to go ahead with the traffic restriction trial on Lawnside, which will have a direct impact on the effective operation of our school.

“We are particularly concerned about how the closure will be managed and also if Central Bedfordshire Council intends to charge for the permits it proposes to introduce.

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She added: “The safety of our pupils and their families is paramount and we will work hard to keep disruption to the day-to-day functioning of the school to a minimum when this trial starts.”

Lawnside is a narrow road without a footway and has 14 properties with off-street parking. Minutes from the Traffic Management Meeting read: “This scheme aims to reduce traffic to make the roads safer for children, improve local air quality and reduce school run congestion for residents.”

It stated: “During the restricted times residents who have vehicles registered at Lawnside address will be permitted to drive into the pedestrian and cycle zone. The residents will be issued with a resident access permit.

Emergency services and taxis will be exempt from the restriction. Other drivers such as visitor’s delivery vehicles and school employees will be able to drive into the pedestrian zone and cycle zone during the operational hours.”

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In response to the school’s comments, Cllr Simon Ford, executive member for highways said: "At the traffic management meeting on Tuesday (January 23) it was agreed that an experimental order could be progressed on Lawnside. Officers will now liaise with the school, local residents and ward members on the arrangement for the trial period, which would typically operate for a period of six months. As yet, no date has been set for when the experimental arrangement will commence.”

He continued: "As an authority we are looking to create a safer environment for children getting to and from school, improving air quality, and encouraging healthier school travel. We are also looking to reduce the local impact of traffic congestion, engine idling, and unsafe parking on residents.

"Placing restrictions on school-run traffic is one of the options we have, and these can be introduced without adversely impacting the operation of a school or the amenity of local residents.”