Local Conservative Councillors Stephen Wells and Michael Tickner have achieved another spectacular success for local people, following a serious accident on 11th November at the nearby junction.
After many meetings and preparatory work, Councillors succeeded in getting a decision by Bromley’s Environment Committee to support an experimental “School Street” scheme for St Mary’s Primary school on the unmade part of Westgate Road.
If consultation with residents is positive, the experimental School Street will be put in place in January and run until the end of the school year in July 2022. The Committee will evaluate this and other School Streets in June to decide which ones should be made permanent.
What is a School Street?
The Borough’s experimental School Street schemes involve closing the road immediately outside schools to improve children’s safety as they come to school, encourage pupils to walk to school and aid social distancing at the school gate. Air pollution is reduced and the risk of accidents drastically reduced. School Streets are only closed at school start and finishing times, and residents living in the Street area will have a permit to drive in at 3 mph.
Clare House Primary School in Overbury Avenue is currently operating a School Street scheme, and it has been judged a success by teachers, the PTA and local residents.
The St Mary’s School Street will operate in the morning for the start of the school day and in the afternoon for the end of the school day for between 30 and 45 minutes respectively. During that period only Westgate Road (unmade section) residents and their visitors, school staff and deliveries to St Mary’s will be permitted to enter the section of Westgate Road around the school.
Cllr Michael Tickner said at the meeting:
“My colleague Cllr Wells and I have seen this concept of a School Street working very successfully at Clare House school and spoken to parents and teachers as well as to local residents. Children are safer.”
After the meeting Cllr Wells commented:
“The unmade nature of the section of Westgate Road where St Mary’s school stands can make for some very unsafe driving manoeuvres, such as driving on the pavement or weaving about the road. A dangerous situation when children are about. This scheme will separate the two elements of children and vehicles by removing the latter just at the key times of the beginning and end of the school day”.
St Mary’s is a two-form primary faith school drawing pupils from a wide area across Beckenham, West Wickham, Hayes and Coney Hall, so pupils arriving by car will need to be dropped off in a safe nearby area and walk a short distance to the school gate.