PARENTS will no longer be able to drive or park in the streets surrounding their childrens’ schools following a controversial traffic-busting scheme which is set to come into force as the new school year begins.
From Monday (September 4) Solihull Council’s pilot School Streets initiative is set to come into place for the next 18 months.
This means parents at Haslucks Green Junior School, Marston Green Infant Academy and Oak Cottage Primary School will be faced with a fine if they are caught parking or driving on roads near the schools at the beginning and end of the day.
However residents with permits and emergency vehicles will be exempt.
A new permanent 20mph speed limit for all traffic will also be introduced, and the scheme will be enforced under West Midlands Police traffic enforcement powers.
Coun Ted Richards OBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways, said: “We know that most people do drive responsibly, but it can often be chaotic outside schools at drop-off and pick-up times.
“The aim of School Streets is to create a safer and more pleasant environment for everyone around schools.
“An added bonus will be the healthier and more active lifestyle it will prompt, with more pupils walking, cycling and scooting to school.”
However not everyone believes the scheme will encourage a more active lifestyle and it will clog up the streets just outside the exclusion zone.
One parent who did not wish to be named told The Observer: “These parking and driving restrictions are ridiculous.
“The Council haven’t considered working parents who have to drop children off at school and then head straight off to work.
“I’d love to be able to walk to and from school with my children and enjoy the fresh air with them but I just don’t have the time around work.”
Following the announcement of School Street the Liberal Democrats claim the Council decided to go ahead with a trial of complicated traffic restrictions near Oak Cottage without any prior consultation with residents.
Coun John Windmill, Leader of the Solihull Liberal Democrats, said: “We support efforts to encourage children to walk to school, and to ease the traffic problems at the start and end of each school day.
“But trial schemes like this should be done with the support of residents, and not just imposed upon them.”
The Liberal Democrats claim they pressed the Council to contact people just outside the exclusion zone as well, as inevitably parking will be displaced to their roads.
The party also said the Council missed their April deadline and sent out letters and leaflets in July which simply told residents what had been decided, without consulting them first.
Solihull Council said the pilot will run for 18 months and over the first six months it will take feedback and make changes if necessary.
After the trial period the project will be evaluated and the scheme will be made permanent, modified or withdrawn.
For more information about the Solihull School Streets pilot, visit www.solihull.gov.uk/schoolstreets
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