Poll: Should 20mph limits be imposed outside all schools in Norfolk?

Councillors and campaigners who are appealing for a 20mph restriction on St Williams Way. Photo: Ste

Councillors and campaigners who are appealing for a 20mph restriction on St Williams Way. Photo: Steve Adams

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.'

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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.

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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.'

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