May 22 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Drivers travelling outside schools in Norfolk could have to stick to a 20mph limit - if plans being mooted by parents, teachers and councillors are progressed.
It has emerged that Norfolk County Council is investigating the possibility of introducing 20mph zones outside schools across the county.
The investigation is at an early stage, with the county council’s cabinet member for planning and transportation, Graham Plant, set to receive the report he commissioned any day.
Mr Plant said the financial and practical logistics of the plans are yet to be explored but added: “It’s fair to say we are looking very seriously at what we can do about 20mph zones outside schools, so what we can do is make a decision on how we can move forward.
“It’s something I consider to be very important. I’m anxious about my grandchildren being safe outside their school, so it is an emotive subject and we are looking very seriously at it.”
The campaign to introduce a 20mph scheme outside St Williams Primary School in Thorpe St Andrew is being backed by several local parents.
Maggie Bradley, who lives in Laundry Lane and whose children – Rosie and Gregor, both aged 7, and George, 8 – all go to St Williams Primary, is calling on the county council to make the plans a reality.
“I 100pc think they should do this at all schools,” Mrs Bradley said. “They want us to walk or cycle to schools, but I drive my kids because it’s too dangerous.
“People come along here doing much more than 30mph and turn in (to St Williams Loke) and it can be really dangerous for mums and kids crossing the road to the school.
“There was a little boy knocked down at the crossing here last year when the light was on green because some drivers are going so fast they don’t even notice the lights have turned red. We can’t even teach our kids that it’s safe to cross when there’s a green light.”
Leanne Davison, from Thorpe End, whose eight-year-old son, Ben, attends the school, added: “It is such a heavily populated area that there are people coming out of their drives as well, and having to edge out into the road around cars that shouldn’t be parked on the road at picking up times, even on double yellow lines. So I tell Ben that he can’t run along the pavements here, he needs to be aware that cars can be coming out from any of the drives. It’s a nightmare.”
The move towards the 20mph zones has been welcomed by parents and local councillors at St Williams Primary School in Thorpe St Andrew - where concerns about the safety of the school’s pupils have seen a campaign launched.
County councillors Nigel Shaw and Ian Mackie joined local mothers for the launch of the campaign, and a petition, on Friday morning.
The campaign is calling for a 20mph zone at peak school times, with flashing signs and a new traffic island, for 100 yards either side of the St Williams Loke junction on St Williams Way, which is currently a busy 30mph road.
Mr Mackie, county councillor for Thorpe St Andrew, said: “The safety issues affecting St Williams Primary are not uncommon across Norfolk; admittedly some schools already have 20mph zones, but not all.
“I am not asking for a blanket 20mph on all urban roads as I don’t believe that is particularly wanted or needed, that is why we are launching a targeted campaign aimed at having timed 20mph zones during key school periods.”
As reported in the EDP in January, 10-year-old Elanor Bailey has been campaigning for a 20mph limit outside Gresham Village Primary, near Holt and been backed by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb.
The school’s headteacher, Marc Goodliffe, said: “We’re really pleased with her campaign, mainly because a lot of it has been under her own initiative.
“I think any measures which are going to reduce speeds outside schools are a good measure because child safety is of paramount importance.”
While in the west of the county, King’s Lynn Academy principal, Craig Morrison, welcomed the council’s investigation.
The road outside the school, Queen Mary Road, is a 30mph road presently and is also used by pupils at the nearby Howard Junior School and Howard Infant and Nursery School.
Mr Morrison said: “Everything that can be done to improve child safety should be applauded and supported. I want more and more of our students to feel safe walking and cycling to school, although I would say local drivers are vigilant on the whole here.
“I would imagine all staff and parents here would support such a move. There can always be near misses outside a school so what we have to look at is that there are preventative measures put in place.
“We don’t want a report in the future where someone has been knocked over and a report says it would have been good to put these 20mph measures in place.”
Police in Norwich have launched an investigation after a woman claimed in a tweet she had knocked a cyclist off their bike.
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