December 10 2013 Latest news:
Friday, September 20, 2013
Five Norfolk schools have been prioritised to receive a share of £50,000 council funding for 20mph speed limits to improve safety for students.
The schools assessed as being most in need of part-time advisory 20mph signs have been listed in a report to Norfolk County Council’s environment, transport and development overview and scrutiny panel, which meets on Thursday.
They were assessed on a range of criteria including the number of pupils, the number of personal injury accidents in the last five years, traffic flow and the potential for children to walk or cycle to school.
The top five, in order, are: Reffley Community School in King’s Lynn; St Williams Primary in Thorpe St Andrew; Heacham Junior School; Holt Community Primary School and Scarning Primary School, near Dereham.
Assessments were carried out at 22 schools and the council has allocated £50,000 in its 2013/14 budget for part-time advisory 20mph speed limits outside about a quarter of them.
Several schools on the shortlist had mounted their own campaigns for localised restrictions, including St Williams Primary in Thorpe St Andrew, where parents, teachers and local councillors joined forces to launch a petition earlier this year.
At Scarning, a similar campaign stepped up a gear in January after a car smashed into a wall outside Michael Whitehead’s house on Dereham Road – the second time in six months that a vehicle has lost control on the bend. Following that accident, the headteacher at Scarning Primary, Grahame Chambers, said up to 60 children walk past the wall every evening, and the school had long asked for a 20mph limit or sleeping policemen.
Reffley Community School, which topped the priority list, had the highest number of personal injury accidents, with four recorded in the last five years.
The panel will discuss the list before detailed proposals are finalised, and it is possible that more than five schools will be able to go ahead if costs allow. The report says it would cost an “unaffordable” £3.75m to treat all the schools in the county.
Dave Stephens, team manager for network management at Norfolk County Council, said: “To treat every school would not be effective targeting of limited resources for road safety.
“Whichever way you do this, there will be a line somewhere that people will be wanting to challenge. I asked the safety engineering team to look at this and arrive at what we thought was the right balance of factors. There is a formula, which is weighted towards the number of pupils. That is the most significant determinant, followed by the number of serious injury accidents.”
The proposed 20mph limit signs would only be advisory restrictions, timed to cover peak drop-off and pick-up times.
“It is giving people the information to make the appropriate judgement about how they should be driving in these areas at these sensitive times,” said Mr Stephens.