Ban on cars outside a Fareham school to continue despite a lack of volunteers to police road closures

Cars will still be banned from roads outside two Hampshire schools at the start and end of the day despite concerns there are a lack of volunteers to police it.
Harrison Primary School in FarehamHarrison Primary School in Fareham
Harrison Primary School in Fareham

Hampshire County Council gave the green light for the scheme to continue for “as long as they remain operationally viable”, with concerns over the recruitment of volunteers to man the temporary road closure outside a school during the start and end of the day. This means access is limited to authorised vehicles with a volunteer marshal.

In September 2020, a Hampshire County Council cabinet report sought a deal to run trials of the scheme at three locations in Hampshire. Trials were set up at Harrison Primary School in Fareham, Cadland Primary School in Holbury and Alverstoke Infants School in Gosport. However, in 2021, Alverstoke Infant School stopped the trial due to difficulties in finding volunteers.

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The other two schools continued with support from parents and the community, which the council said saw a “significant improvement” in the road environment as well as improvement at the start of the school day, with a “calmer atmosphere” and “less potential for conflict” outside the school.

From the council’s perspective, the trials have shown clear benefits in managing the use of the network, reducing conflict and supporting walking and cycling. However, the reliance on school volunteers is a concern since it could “prejudice” the long-term viability of the service. Therefore, work is ongoing with Harrison primary to identify potential measures to reduce reliance on volunteers. A survey of parents in July 2023 showed that 94 per cent supported the scheme and that 91 per cent wanted it made permanent. Furthermore, 91 per cent considered road conditions to be safer, 82 per cent felt there was more space, and 72 per cent said there was less congestion.

But Harrison primary has told the council though that it has been “difficult” to recruit and retain volunteers due to the level of commitment required – eight are needed every day during term time. Occasionally, school staff have had to be deployed when there were not enough volunteers available but a “low-cost” scheme is currently under development.

At Cadland primary, the service is being “significantly” reduced because it only involves one point of closure, and the scheme requires minimal vehicular access due to the nature of the road.

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The county council said that the estimated cost for schools to set up school street schemes has been between £15,000 and £18,000. On top of that, the cost of dismantling a scheme is roughly £10,000 so the total price could reach £25,000 per school. Schools would also incur costs if they needed staff to run those facilities.

Now that the approval to continue with the services has been sought, an updated policy will be updated on the Hampshire County Council website for those schools who wish to apply. The guidance will contain information on how to apply. Schools can use a self-service guide to check if they meet the criteria. If they meet the criteria and still wish to apply, they can contact a council officer.