Permanent school street schemes vote delayed after consultation criticism
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A vote on making three school street schemes permanent was deferred after concerns that responses from as far away as Newham were included in the consultation.
The schemes, which designate certain streets as pedestrian and cycle-only areas at set times of the day, were introduced on an experimental basis at three sites in Havering, with the aim of reducing traffic and improving road safety and air quality.
Havering Council officers had recommended that a permanent traffic order be approved for three experimental schemes, which cover four schools: Branfil Primary School, Hylands Primary School and Squirrels Heath Infant and Junior schools.
At the highways advisory committee on Tuesday, December 14, Cllr Judith Holt, whose ward includes Hylands Primary School, raised concerns about the report submitted by officers.
She said she had been particularly “struck” by the inclusion of consultation responses from people living in Collier Row, Harold Hill, Rush Green, Upminster, Elm Park and even East Ham.
Senior parking engineer Omar Tingling told the councillor the report included anyone who responded to the online consultation, which was not limited to people living in the area.
Cllr Holt responded: “How can a road in East Ham be given the same weighting as the roads that are immediately by the school?
“To my mind that is a very big flaw,” she said.
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Mark Hodgson, head of highways, added: “The reason that we consider people outside the school street is that they feel the impact and the displacement.
“I don’t think there will be many people who live further away from the school who would have bothered to respond to the consultation if they didn’t have a connection to the school.
“Those people who responded most probably are either teachers themselves or have children at the school.
“Within Benjamin Close (which neighbours the school), everyone who has responded has agreed to the school street continuing, so they are happy with the status quo.
“I don’t think the decision would be taken on incorrect information.”
However, committee chair Cllr Brian Eagling suggested that the entire agenda item be deferred so the officers could review the report.
“I’m not asking them to do another consultation, we want them to check it to make sure the documentation that comes back is 100 per cent correct,” he said.
A motion to defer was approved with five votes in favour and one abstention.