Residents oppose traffic restrictions around school in Ilford

People living close to a school have united to oppose plans to restrict traffic during drop-off and pick-up times.

Redbridge Council is considering 10 new “School Streets” schemes across the borough, temporarily closing roads around certain schools to traffic at the start and end of the day.

The council currently has two schemes, around Fairlop Primary School in Colvin Gardens and around two schools in Gordon Road, and says both “have been successful at reducing traffic”.

However, people living outside a proposed zone around Parkhill Infants’ and Junior Schools in Lord Avenue, Ilford, say traffic will simply move down the road.

Residents and businesses inside the School Streets zones can apply for an exemption to the £130 fine and the restrictions will be in place for less than three hours of the day.

Kashif Mahmood, 46, chairman of the new Clayhall residents group, set up to oppose the scheme, said members were worried it was “only displacing the problem from one area to another”.

He said: “They are planning (to close roads) one block away from the school. All it will do is push traffic down into our road.

“We’d like to stop this unworkable scheme from proceeding and sit down with the council to discuss it.”

He added many members would prefer a “non-stopping zone”, which would prevent parents dropping their kids off or picking them up without restricting other traffic.

In response to the council’s insistence that the principle had been “tried and tested in other areas”, he insisted that this did not take into account Clayhall’s “highly residential” character.

Committee member Emma Friddin added that, because one half of her road was in the proposed zone while hers was not, she would need to drive onto busy Woodford Avenue to get out.

She was concerned that this could force her to detour “a good couple of miles” if she wanted to leave the area at the start or end of the school day.

Traffic would only be limited on the surrounding roads from 8.15am to 9.30am and from 2.30pm to 4.00pm.

The campaign group claims to have the backing of all three Labour ward councillors: Cllr Gurdial Bhamra, Cllr Sunita Bhamra and Cllr Jamal Uddin.

Mr Mahmood said: “We asked our (ward) councillors why this scheme had come forward… and they said they were consulted at the same time as we were.

“We have had conversations with all three of them and they are in complete agreement with us that this scheme is not going to work.”

All three councillors were contacted for comment by the Local Democracy Reporting Service on February 17 but have yet to respond.

Following the publication of this article, a Redbridge Council spokesperson said: “We are grateful to all the residents who took the time to input into the consultation.

“We are now considering the responses received as we decide how to proceed.”

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter

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