Agenda item

Select Committee Review Into The Council's Road Safety Initiatives And Activities Around The Borough's Schools - Witness Session 3


The Committee considered its third and final witness session on its review into the Council’s Road Safety Initiatives and Activities Around the Borough’s Schools.


Witness testimony from local resident


Mr Rakesh Kumar, a local resident who lived in close vicinity of a school, addressed the Committee. The Committee was informed that on Wood End Green Road there were several education establishments all near each other.


Concerns were expressed about the traffic and safety issues caused by school-related activities in the area. It was noted that the proposed development at the school would cause even further issues with traffic congestion and road safety. Issues highlighted included chaotic road conditions during drop-off and pick-up times, lack of bus stops, disregard for parking rules, and the need for better traffic management and safety measures. The school days started early from 7.30am and activities went on until 6pm where local residents were impacted by school related parking violations and traffic. There was often anti-social behaviour including beeping, swearing and near miss fatal accidents with children crossing roads. The traffic on the road was described as ‘horrendous’ with ‘wild west’ driving tactics.


Solutions such as improved infrastructure, increased awareness through multilingual communication, and the possibility of bringing certain services like CCTV monitoring in-house to enhance community involvement. It was also suggested that students become involved in addressing parent behaviour and parking enforcement was undertaken more regularly. There was an overall concern for the safety and well-being of children, residents and the community.


During Member discussions it was noted that there were similar school and road safety  issues across the borough. Schools, parents and the Council all had a responsibility to put measures in place to uphold road safety particularly near schools. 


The Committee was keen to receive data from the Enforcment team.


The Committee thanked the witness for attending and their frank account.


Witness testimony from  a teacher and representatives from Youth Travel Ambassadors (YTA), Guru Nanak Sikh Academy


The Committee heard from Ms Marina Botros, a teacher at Guru Nanak Sikh Academy and a number of Youth Travel Ambassadors who all provided an insight into the different activities undertaken to increase road safety and suggestions for improvements.


It was noted that there had already been a lot of work undertaken between the school, Transport for London and the Council to encourage sustainable methods of school drop offs and pick ups.


Members heard about the YTA’s experience with zebra crossings, cycle lanes and walking groups. It was noted that there were issues with the right turn junction on Springfield Road and concerns were raised regarding abandoned vehicles in the area which were sometimes left for months.


It was suggested that staggered drop offs and pick ups, better signage and working with local businesses to manage traffic congestion in the area could improve the situation. The Committee was informed that the YTA hosted competitions to encourage students to ride and walk to school. 


In terms of how parents were being engaged with, it was reported that coffee mornings took place, correspondence from the school was sent out and students often relayed the message to be more mindful of the safety issues caused around drop offs and pick ups.


The YTA were encouraged to speak to local businesses in the area to highlight the issues and discuss proposed solutions to manage the issues.


The Committee welcomed initiatives such as the walking group with older students encouraging younger students to walk to school and alleviate any parental safety concerns.


It was acknowledged that Guru Nanak Sikh Academy was located in an usual location with many industrial sites nearby and commercial businesses.


The Committee noted the YTA’s passion for road safety. Members were pleased to hear from YTA and thanked them for the useful and positive contribution to the review.


Witness testimony from Mr Sidhu, headteacher at Guru Nanak Sikh Academy


The Committee heard about the school’s alternative car park at Minnet Although Minnet country car park was available for car parking on a daily basis. Although the use of this car park helped during rush hour times, many parents were often in a rush so did not always use the car park. Staff members usually directed parents to areas of safe parking and ensured the flow movement of traffic. There were some safety issues with using the Minnet country car park however the introduction of lighting and CCTV could improve the situation. .


A new initiative had been introduced encouraging parents to use the Lombardy car park, a 10-minute walk from the school. Students were encouraged to walk to school as much as possible particularly as many children lived nearby. This initiative had been welcomed by parents.


In response to questions about the use of the Lombardy car park, it was noted that parents and children usually travelled underbridge to attend the school and there were some safety issues. There was a good relationship with the Safer Neighbourhoods Police Team but it was noted that it would be difficult to deploy someone on a daily basis. It acknowledged that this area needed to be looked into particularly in relation to lighting.

In terms of managing parent behaviours such parking on pavements and blocking driveways, correspondence was sent from the school through a regular newsletter and road safety was always an agenda item for the school’s Health and Safety Committee. It was noted that some schools had used a "name and shame" policy for parents violating rules and it had worked to prevent road safety issues.


It was agreed that educating children about road safety was a good way to hold parents accountable.


There was an issue with abandoned lorries and enforcement help was requested.


The Committee thanked all the witnesses for their attendance and useful input into the review. The Committee was pleased to hear from a diverse range of witnesses. It was clear to the Committee that discussions emphasised the importance of collaboration between the school, local authorities, and parents to address safety concerns and traffic issues around school areas.


RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the evidence received.

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