School Streets pilot scrapped at Leeds school as residents complain about parking of parents

A 'School Streets pilot' in Burley has become the first in the city to be scrapped amid complaints that traffic was "displaced" rather than reduced.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 4:45 pm

Sandford Road in Leeds was part of the scheme which involves closing off roads around schools to all traffic except cyclists, Blue Badge-holders and emergency vehicles.

It was hoped the School Streets scheme would make social distancing easier for parents and pupils to help with staggered returns for children who are going back to school.

However, in Burley, the scheme - which was introduced in late 2020 - has now been withdrawn after "it simply did not work".

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Sandford Road, Burley PIC: Google

Rather than reducing traffic, the scheme led to cars being "displaced all to one side" of the site which is "challenging because it has two schools on it" - Beecroft and Sacred Heart.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, councillor Fiona Venner said withdrawing the scheme was "not a decision" councillors "took lightly".

She said the withdrawal of the scheme was "very disappointing".

The scheme had "not reduced traffic" and attracted "problematic parking and complaints from local residents" according to the councillor.

A decision was made to scrap the scheme "two weeks ago" and the road will return to usual use from the end of half-term, it was confirmed.

Cllr Venner said: "Leeds City Council is passionately committed to active travel and this is the only scheme that has had to be withdrawn across the city.

"Sadly, it simply did not work and did not stop less people driving to school, which is its aim.

"Rather than reducing traffic, the trial displaced it all to one side of a site which is challenging because it has two schools on it.

"We have tried enforcement via the police and traffic wardens and Beecroft School have worked incredibly hard, with staff out on the streets to encourage people to park responsibly and use the Park and Stride schemes.

"But this has not reduced traffic, problematic parking and complaints from local residents and we reached this difficult decision two weeks ago."

The scheme has been a success outside other schools across Leeds and this is the first to be scrapped according to councillors.

Cllr Venner continued: "The councillors remain committed to working with Beecroft and Sacred Heart schools on other sustainable travel schemes.”

Many Burley residents took to social media to discuss the scheme after the announcement.

One said: "What a shame that parents are so inconsiderate.

"I'm a local resident living just off Argie Avenue and just two days ago drove past the school at the end of the day.

"[There was] dreadful parking on footpaths.

"Many children going to the school must live within walking distance for it to be in their catchment area.

"Lazy, selfish people."

Other residents questioned the decision to end the scheme.

One added: "Personally I find this decision and the reasoning incredibly disappointing

"As a parent who walks their kids to Beecroft I've seen a big increase in walking, scooting and biking to school.

"You're never going to get everyone.

"I feel there was not enough warning or information given to parents at Beecroft and I suspect the same for those at Sacred Heart.

"I also object to the emphasis put on parents.

"Some of the problem parking is residents and much of the dangerous driving seems to me to be people rat-running on their commute.

"All this was a problem before the school street and should have been better planned beforehand, but giving up on a scheme that benefits children in favour of traffic is a poor show."

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