Hampshire County Council considers school streets trial 'generally successful'

CLOSING roads at the start and end of the school day has been 'generally successful' a council claims.

Since the start of the academic year, Hampshire County Council has been trialling a school streets pilot for three schools across the county.

Now, a report has been published detailing the success of the scheme - even though one of the schools pulled out of the trial.

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Alverstoke Infant School in Ashburton Road, Gosport. Picture: Google Maps

Harrison Primary School in Fareham, Cadland Primary School in Holbury and Alverstoke Infant School in Gosport all took part in the pilot, with the latter withdrawing after October half-term.

County council officer Dominic McGrath said: 'The three trial schemes have been generally successful, with community support for all three trial schemes.

'There is evidence to indicate a reduction in motor vehicle activity in the areas of concentrated pedestrian usage around the school entrance.

'The school streets generally have a positive impact on active travel mode choice for the journey to school, and this benefit appears to be more significant when school streets are implemented over larger areas and/or in schools with larger pupil numbers.'

On average, there was a drop in traffic at pick-up and drop-off times of 200 vehicles.

The county council noted that the trial at Alverstoke Infant School had a lower 'level of public support' before the school withdrew from the pilot scheme.

As previously reported, many felt the scheme did not suit the school, as it sits in a dead-end road that is typically only used by residents.

All three schools required stewards to man barriers at the end of the streets, with volunteers being brought in due to staffing pressures it placed on the schools.

The schools also reported parking problems in nearby streets.

Mr McGrath added: 'The pilot has demonstrated that school streets schemes covering a larger area are likely to be more sustainable and have a higher impact.'

This pilot, which was extended in November, has cost the county council £74,000, coming from the government's Active Travel Fund. To roll it out across the county would cost an estimated £2.5m.

Later this week the select committee for economy, transport and environment will examine the report, and recommendations for the cabinet to continue the pilot.

Meanwhile in Portsmouth, three more schools are set to join Portsmouth's scheme this spring.

Following trials at St Jude’s C of E Primary and Bramble Infant schools in 2021, the additional schools – St John’s Cathedral Catholic Primary, Meon Infant and Meon Junior schools – will join Phase 2 on May 16. The trial is supported by Portsmouth City Council and Sustrans.