Consultation set to be launched over road safely plan outside school in Hockley

A consultation will be launched over plans to permanently shut a road outside a Hockley school during drop-off and collection times after a trial was hailed a “fantastic success”, say council bosses.

Rochford District Council is also looking for more schools to possibly trial out and potentially roll out road closures in a bid to improve safety for families during pick-up and drop-off times.

Sunny Road outside Westerings Primary Academy was temporarily closed to all vehicles from 8.15am to 9am and 2.30pm to 3.30pm – to create a school streets zone on June 12.

The council says the aim is to create a secure environment for children arriving and leaving school, promoting safety and reducing traffic around the school.

A council spokesman said: “There will be a full consultation with the parents, residents, pupils and teachers to explore making the scheme permanent, the council also intends to identify other schools to work with the school streets zone model.”

Regarding last week’s trial, outside Westerings Primary Academy, the spokesman added: “It was a fantastic success with good feedback from residents – able to leave their homes without having to negotiate congestion on the road and parents taking advantage of the car park fees waived at the library to join the walking school bus, spending quality time with their kids.”

Following the trial, Adam Stainsbury, Westerings Primary Academy headteacher, added: “Seeing hundreds of Westerings children safely walk to school during the Great Big Green Week was remarkable.

“Not only is walking to school better for their physical and mental health, but it’s also better for the environment and reduces the number of vehicles unnecessarily congesting the streets for other road users.

“On a daily basis, we unfortunately see drivers outside the school gates making hasty or risky choices which put other families at risk, all with a view to saving a few minutes in the morning.

“With almost 80 per cent of our families living within walking distance of the school, we want to do everything in our power to encourage more families to make safer and healthier choices.”

Matthew Critchell

Local Democracy Reporter