A ‘SCHOOL Streets’ scheme aimed at restricting traffic and parking outside four schools will be rolled out permanently.

The pilot scheme, from BCP Council, was introduced in spring of last year at Hamworthy Park Juniors, St Michael’s Church of England Primary, St Livingstone Road Infant and Juniors and St John’s Church of England Infant schools.

The trial saw roads directly outside the schools closed to motorised traffic through the school week at peak drop-off and pick-up times, except for residents and blue badge holders. 

The results were ‘very encouraging’, with an 11.5 per cent rise in parents and carers opting to walk, cycle or scoot.

Ninety-two per cent of parents and carers requested the scheme be introduced on a full-time basis.

Around 80 per cent of those surveyed also said they felt much safer outside the schools during the period of the pilot.

Andy Poole is head of St Clement’s and St John’s Church of England Infant School.

He said: “We’re delighted with how our School Streets trial has gone and we’re pleased to be rolling it out permanently.

“It goes without the saying the safety of our children and parents is paramount to us, and it’s been fantastic to see how it’s been embraced by everyone.

“But this simple idea doesn’t just provide peace of mind during the busy school run, it has an environmental impact too which will help improve air quality as we reduce the number of vehicles travelling to our site, often twice a day.”

Mike Manser, the volunteer head steward for the scheme at St Clement’s and St John’s Church of England Infant School, said: “School Streets helps parents to be more active and has really given us a sense of community.

“Most people live within a mile and the idea is to encourage more people to walk. It’s taken a while, but we are definitely getting there.”

The dad added: “We’ve had parents who didn’t want to stop driving but now walk their children to school every morning.”

The scheme is part of the council’s Transforming Travel programme. Due to the success of the scheme at these schools, it is now being trialled at two other schools in the conurbation.

Cllr Millie Earl, deputy leader and portfolio holder for connected communities, said: “We’re delighted the School Streets pilot has been so successful and popular with our participating schools, parents and children.

“It’s achieved our ambition of creating safer spaces around school sites and encouraged more people to seek alternative ways of travelling.”