13 June 2022| | 3 min read
Pupils enjoying safer, healthier and less polluted journeys
Families at Hotspur Primary School are cleaning up the school run so that children can enjoy safer and healthier journeys.
Parents, carers and pupils are swapping the car for walking, cycling and scooting to school following the introduction of a School Street scheme on Monday 13 June.
The scheme means that some roads around the school are closed to general traffic on school days during the times when children are arriving and going home.
The aim is to improve road safety and air quality so that pupils, their families, school staff and nearby residents can enjoy a better environment and better health.
Newcastle City Council is working with Sustrans, the charity that promotes walking, cycling and wheeling, to introduce School Street schemes in partnership with schools and local communities across the city.
The scheme at Hotspur Primary School, in Heaton, is the first one to go ahead and this week children will be celebrating on Thursday 16 June, which is also Clean Air Day.
Cllr Jane Byrne, Connected City cabinet member at Newcastle City Council, said: “We know that many families, schools and local residents want to see safer routes to schools with less traffic and more opportunities to walk, cycle and scoot. As a Hotspur parent myself, I’ve been looking forward to the School Street, but I also understand the pressure parents and carers can feel getting their children to and from school on time, but we need to find the best solution that works for everyone.
“Having School Street schemes, like this one at Hotspur Primary School, helps to create temporary traffic-free zones around schools when children are arriving and going home, which not only improves road safety and helps people be more active, but also reduces air pollution from vehicles, which is really important.
“Now that I am cabinet member for Connected City, I’m delighted that I will be able to support communities across the city to have School Streets of their own.”
Kevin McVittie, head teacher at Hotspur Primary School, said: “I’m looking forward to the roads outside school being kept clear for children when they arrive at school and leave to go home. Being safe from traffic will enable many of our families to make healthier choices about how they travel to school.
“Active school journeys are a key part of a healthy lifestyle for children, which is something we really encourage in school.”
Ali Stansfield, Sustrans School Streets Officer for Newcastle, said: “Sustrans have been working with children and families at Hotspur for months, and we’ve been told time and time again about the dangerous driving and parking around school.
“Hotspur’s School Street will tackle these issues, as well as encouraging active journeys to school. Walking or wheeling the school run makes children happier, healthier, and safer, as well as reducing air pollution and emissions outside school.
“The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Residents and families have been in touch to say that they support the scheme and can’t wait to get rid of the congestion on these streets at peak school times.”
The roads included in the School Street at Hotspur Primary School are Mowbray Street, Hotspur Street and Newington Road, as well as the back lanes behind Stratford Road and between Hotspur Street and Warwick Street and Hotspur Street and Mowbray Street.
These roads and back lanes will be closed between 8am and 9.30am on school day mornings, and again between 2.30pm and 4pm on school day afternoons.
Residents and some other drivers, including blue badge holders, will still have access to the street but other traffic will have to use alternative routes during these times of day.
People are invited to provide comments and feedback on the scheme and how it is working during the first six months.
Feedback and views will then be looked at to determine whether any changes are required.
More details and a link to the consultation can be found at www.newcastle.gov.uk/schoolstreets.