More Southend schools set to join road closure scheme

Roads outside five more Southend schools could be closed to drivers during pickup and drop-off times to keep children safe and combat air pollution.

Southend Council piloted the “school streets” scheme last year and it has proved popular enough to attract more schools to join up.

Four schools initially took part in the pilot scheme, including Greenways and West Leigh Schools.

Now Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School and Nursery, Eastwood Primary School and Nursery and Prince Avenue School will join the scheme along with Porters Grange and Bournemouth Park Primary The scheme will cost an estimated £75,600.

The School Streets scheme is designed to combat air pollution, congestion and make roads safer. It involves volunteers and staff putting up barriers to close roads when children are entering or exiting schools. Where that isn’t possible, cameras are installed to monitor the roads.

Trained school staff – known as School Street Marshals – are deployed to man School Street barriers which close roads at the start and end of school days.

Councillor Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council said: “The scheme has gone down very well with parents and teachers and children can walk down the roads more safely. We are looking to bring in cameras where we need to and in the long term we will be installing cameras in all of the school streets to save volunteer staff having to man barriers.

“Hopefully opposition councillors will work with us to get it through and there won’t be any delays because its children’s safety.”

The scheme is not so suitable for every school depending on its position within surrounding roads.

Earls Hall School in Carlton Avenue is surrounded by busy roads so turned down a chance to join the scheme.

Headteacher, Matt Badcock, said: “I did look into but felt it would just move parking problems on to other roads. I decided it wasn’t for us. When our schools were built there wasn’t the huge number of cars there are now.

“All schools face parking challenges but in the main we have a good and very understanding neighbours. They don’t give me a hard time. We have to be constantly on it but when people choose our school they have to be aware parking doesn’t come with it.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter

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