You will probably have noticed some Governors and parents in high-viz jackets carrying clipboards standing at various locations around the school recently. This was part of an effort by the school to monitor the traffic behaviour in the vicinity of the school which is a requirement of the planning conditions to build the new school in the first place. The locations were chosen because those places have generated the majority of complaints from residents, pedestrians and other local road users about the behaviour of some drivers and concerns for the safety of the children who attend the school. This is a continuing problem made worse by the building work at the school, but in order for us to get action taken we need evidence. The registration numbers of cars parked illegally or driving particularly dangerously were taken as part of the exercise in order to spot patterns and repeat offenders.
Over the week 53 registration plates were recorded. The majority of cases were one-offs but there were some repeat offenders. However, the team could not cover each location on each day, so the numbers are much worse than those recorded. In addition to drivers parking on double yellow lines outside the school gates, people were observed blocking driveways, double parking on Van Diemen’s Close and reversing around junctions where children walk, scoot or cycle. None of this behaviour is acceptable and poses a great risk to the safety of children (and adults) who use the school entrances. Many of those travelling on foot (or scooter, or bike etc) were very supportive of what the team were trying to do and took the time to let us know, which we really appreciated. Click here to read the report created as part of this work.
The school Travel Committee also met recently and invited Town Mayor Mervyn Hall and local Councillor Jane Davies. Councillor Nick Fogg was also invited but could not attend. At the meeting we discussed the travel issues faced by the school and asked what could be done. We discussed George Lane, particularly the urgent need for better signage, a 20mph speed limit and better facilities and support for the new crossing point near the Police Station. We also discussed improving the path from George Lane to the Van Diemen’s Close entrance, the lack of a pavement at the top of Isbury Road, the use of George Lane car park and the illegal parking in the area. Both Mrs Davies and Mr Hall were supportive of everything we spoke about and will help the school take things forward with the different committees and groups responsible.
We thought that it was important for the children to be involved in our campaign and Mrs Pash, who runs the children’s Eco Warriors Club, was at the meeting and agreed that the children would write to the Findlay Foundation asking about high-vis jackets. We felt that as many children as possible, wearing the brightly coloured jackets, would draw drivers’ attention to the proximity of a school.
It would help the school’s case a great deal if, should you feel that the safety of our children is as important as we do, you could contact our MP Claire Perry, our Unitary Councillors Nick Fogg and Stuart Dobson and Councillor Bridget Wayman from Wiltshire Council (who is the cabinet member for highways) to express your concerns and support for the initiatives mentioned above.