More roads to be closed near Brighton and Hove schools

A scheme aimed at encouraging more children to walk and cycle to and from school is to be adopted more widely across Brighton and Hove.

The School Streets scheme is also intended to deter parents from using a car for the school run by closing roads close to the school gates.

Trial schemes have taken place in streets outside five Brighton and Hove primary schools, in part as a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

A report to councillors said: “The covid-19 pandemic caused additional need for space outside schools when they returned in September 2020 to support physical distancing.”

The changes were also aimed at making the streets safer for those walking and cycling.

The first four schools where temporary road closures were trialled were St Luke’s Primary, Brunswick Primary, Downs Infant, Downs Junior and St Nicolas CE Primary.

And now 10 more schools are to join the scheme, with Hove Junior School, in Portland Road, Queen’s Park Primary, St Mary’s RC Primary and Westdene Primary to be prioritised in the current school year.

In the next school year, 2022-23, Aldrington CE Primary, Balfour Primary, Coombe Road Primary, Hangleton Primary, Hertford Junior and St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary are expected to join the scheme.

Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson said that there was a lack of public consultation in the rush to close Queen’s Park Rise, near St Luke’s, where bollards were put in.

They will now be removed after criticisms from people living in the area who complained that, among other problems, deliveries had been affected.

A Brighton and Hove City Council report said: “Sixteen objectors perceived air quality would worsen as a result of the scheme due to the turning of vehicles at the bottom of Queen’s Park Rise.”

At the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting at Hove Town Hall on Tuesday (21 September), Councillor Wilkinson said that the bollards, at the junction of Queen’s Park Rise and Queen’s Park Terrace, had come as a shock.

He said: “People who are used to consultation prior to any decision being taken are often shocked when works commence on their doorsteps, sometimes with very little warning.

“We have been conditioned by standard consultation to think that nothing significant will be done before the views of the community have been carefully considered by the council.

“Even those who trusted their council may have wondered whether what was being done was truly an experiment.

The bollards in Queen’s Park Rise in Brighton

“Meanwhile, those who were suspicious of their council tended to think that the trial was a convenient way of getting some pet scheme implemented, with a strong presumption that it would remain.”

The committee voted to remove the bollards and replace them with temporary closure measures in Queen’s Park Rise, which would operate only in term-time at the start and end of the school day.

Officials assured Councillor Wilkinson that they would also look into reinstating three parking spaces in Queen’s Park Rise which were lost to the bollards.

Labour councillor Les Hamilton said that he had received no complaints the changes to Highlands Road, Portslade, a cul-de-sac by St Nicholas CE Primary School, in Portslade.

But he was concerned about the proposed changes outside St Mary’s Catholic Primary, in Church Road, Portslade, on a corner of the A293, the main lorry route to and from Shoreham Harbour.

Councillor Gary Wilkinson

And Conservative councillor Samer Bagaeen was concerned about the effect on bin collections if the council partly blocked Eridge Road, close to Aldrington Primary School.

He said: “Nevill Road has had problems with bin and garden waste collections for the last year and a half. Another email has just come in to say bins were not collected on Nevill Close.

“The last thing I want to subject residents to there is further road closures similar to the ones at Queen’s Park Rise.”

A council transport project manager, Alex Voce, said that Aldrington Primary had been assessed as suitable for the School Streets programme.

The council is budgeting about £150,000 a year for the programme and may look at using cameras to enforce the road closures.

  1. Jonathan Simons Reply

    U-turns from Labour again after campaigning for Queens Park Rise to close in this way – reckless opportunism from this as usual.

    • Nathan Adler Reply

      Yes shock horror they listened to the residents, (electorate), rather than plough on regardless- fancy that. A sensible solution is now to happen, it’s amazing what you do when you consult.

  2. Catherine K Reply

    What a great idea. All credit to extinction rebellion and the greens. Bikes and walking are great. Cars are not. Let folk use bikes and walk and enjoy the sea air not fumes. Will help with kids mindfulness too

  3. Billy Short Reply

    You don’t need to have kids yourself to know of the traffic log jams you can get near school gates – both in the morning and in the afternoon at collection time. If it’s a big school then that’s hundreds of children, with the younger ones arriving with their parents which means an even bigger crowd.

    So the simplistic view is that the road outside any school should be closed so that parents in a hurry can’t just drive up in a car to drop off their kids. It’s also a good thing to walk your kids to school, spending more time with them and getting a bit of fresh air and exercise.

    The problem with road closures is where does this stop? And how does it affect access for the people who actually live on that road, and what are the knock on effects for transport flow across the city?
    Obviously the decision should be made locally by each school and in consultation with local residents. The simple compromise is to close the road for an hour or so at the peak times but of course that requires volunteers or paid staff to set up the closure each day.

    What seems to be happening here is rather different, namely with the council imposing the closures on communities with no consultation. There is certainly no consultation with residents in nearby roads who will see an increase in traffic because of cars and delivery vans displaced by this decision.

    If one was completely cynical, you could see these changes as part of a green zealot agenda to close roads because they simply hate cars, and what is clear is they have no empathy with parents in a difficult situation – perhaps trying to get different age kids to different schools whilst themselves needing to get to work.
    If you live in a flat and have no space to store bikes then telling parents to cycle their kids to school just doesn’t work.

    If challenged, the greens just play the ‘what about the children?’ emotive card, to close down any discussion. As none of this has been voted for by a majority, the greens are over stepping the mark here. The process feels very wrong to me.

    • Some Guy Reply

      Serious question: how do we get people to stop driving so much? Clearly there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for literally everybody, but how do we manage a reduction in general?

      • Raymond Ellerton Reply

        Free public transport, its worked in Luxembourg

  4. Dave Reply

    Simple solution, spend that £150k on free kids bus passes on school days. Not nanny state it and force agendas on people which actually affects a lot more than just a few parents driving.

    Personally I think this is way down on the list of priorities. The entire council should be beating down the doors of city clean and hammering out a deal or sacking people (inaffective management/ union ring leaders) to get the bin strike sorted out. This is way more important than a few mums driving to school. in 8 years time all these cars will be electric anyway…

    • Some Guy Reply

      £150k gets a year’s bus travel for ~300 kids. That would cover roughly one school. What do we do about the other nineteen schools?
      Also, the council can (and indeed must) solve more than one problem at a time.

      • unhappy Reply

        Pity they seem to create more problems than they are solving with their reckless and ill thought through schemes, imposing a dogma onto society is not democratic, not to mention that they were not actually voted in so assumed control without a mandate – surely in a caretaking position they should be keeping things working smoothly until such time as the electorate can give the mandate to the next incumbent. (Even if they had the mandate democratic process and consultation needs to be followed for changes that have these sorts of impact)

        • Mr Paul Taylor Reply

          Well said!
          Democracy will only be true democracy when councillors divest themselves of special interest groups- such as the masons- where secrecy is the buzz word; rather than voters concerns, that decisions are made with the consent of those whom pay their wages. In council tax speak- that’s you and me!

        • Some Guy Reply

          No part of this rambling, incoherent reply relates to what I said. How do we improve school transport for the other nineteen schools? How do we reduce the number of cars choking those roads nearby (and often creating dangerous situations for children in the process)?
          It’s weird seeing so many people advocating for extra tape with all these extra consultations.

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