Reading’s First School Street Set For Approval

PUPILS, parents and staff at Park Lane Primary (Junior) School, and local residents living in the vicinity, are set to be the first to benefit from the creation of Reading’s first ever School Street.

A meeting of Reading Borough Council’s Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee (SEPT) on November 18th looks set to approve plans to implement a School Street in Downing Road and Lambourne Close. If agreed, Reading’s first School Street could be operational by early 2021 A School Street is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at busy school drop-off and pick-up times. The restriction applies to all school traffic and all through traffic. The result is a safer, healthier and more pleasant environment for everyone. School Streets also provide more space for parents and pupils to adhere to social distancing measures during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. If approved, the School Street for Park Lane Primary (Junior) would provisionally be operational from 8.30am to 8.55am and in the afternoon from 3.15pm to 3.40pm. Park Lane Primary (Junior) School has completed its own informal consultation with nearby households, parents and carers. No objections were received as part of the process, although the scheme is dependent on no objections being received by The Royal British Legion, which is located at the north end of Downing Road. The Council has itself carried out parking and traffic surveys on the proposed School Street for Park Lane Primary (Junior) School, as well as on neighbouring roads. An independent road safety survey additionally found no safety concerns. Two further School Streets proposals in Reading are also in the planning stages. Maiden Erlegh School in Reading, UTC and Alfred Sutton Primary School are developing a joint proposal for a School Street on Crescent Road, between Wokingham Road and Bulmershe Road. Wilson Primary School is similarly exploring proposals for a School Street on Wilson Road, including Lundy Lane, Tofrek Terrace and Westbourne Terrace. Both proposals are at the informal consultation stage, with schools speaking with nearby households as well as pupil parents and carers. The schools have yet to advise the Council on the outcome of their local consultations. The November 18th SEPT Committee Report can be found at Cllr Tony Page

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“Pandemic restrictions, including the on going requirement to socially distance and restrictions on capacity of public transport, mean the creation of School Streets in Reading remain firmly on the agenda. School Streets not only make travel to schools safer and allow for social distancing, but also create a healthier and more pleasant local environment for everyone living in the vicinity.

“It is of course essential that schools bring the local community on board with any proposals for School Streets in their area, so I am pleased the consultation carried out by Park Lane Primary resulted in no local objections. With approval by Councillors on November 18, and subject to the nearby Royal British Legion having no objections, Reading first School Street will become operational from early 2021. “Two more School Streets - one in the east of the borough and one in the west - are currently at the informal consultation stage. The Council now look forward to the results of those conversations with local communities in advance of considering any proposals from the respective schools. “I am pleased we are now at the stage where Reading’s first School Street is imminent, which I hope will encourage other schools to follow suit. It is also important to say that once operational, the local community will have another 6 month window during which to comment, before any decision is taken to make it permanent.” If approved, the new School Street for Park Lane Primary (Junior) would be implemented under a 6 month experimental order, which gives local communities another 6 months to comment while the scheme is operational. If no further objections are then received, the traffic order can then be made permanent, or it will return to Committee for further consideration.