Timed road closures around South Hampstead schools – should they stay?

The school streets consultation runs until November 22

The school streets consultation runs until November 22 - Credit: Polly Hancock

Timed road closures around South Hampstead schools could be made permanent.

Since last November Camden Council has trialled a healthy school streets scheme where cars are banned on certain roads during pick-up and drop-off times.

The measures cover Maresfield Gardens, Netherhall Gardens, Nutley Terrace, Netherhall Way and the southern end of Frognal.

Camden is now consulting on whether the restrictions should be made permanent.  

Siobhan Ezra, from the Redington Frognal Association, said she welcomed attempts to limit traffic, but was “disappointed” the scheme hadn’t been developed “holistically”. 

“The scheme clearly benefits the residents in Netherhall and Maresfield to the detriment of residents in many surrounding roads,” she said.  

“Camden has totally ignored the need to introduce mitigating traffic measures in these other residential roads.” 

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Siobhan said including the southern end of Frognal forces vehicles onto Arkwright Road, and she called on the council to more clearly indicate when the scheme is operational. 

The school street zone incorporates South Hampstead High School, North Bridge House Pre-Preparatory School, Southbank International School and Holy Trinity Primary School.   

Council data shows traffic reduced between 4% to 63% at six sites during the trial, whereas at another it increased by 8%.  

Pollution fell between 17-23% in the four areas tested – but only 46% of comments during the scheme were positive.  

If the scheme is made permanent, electric vehicles will no longer be exempt from the restrictions from the end of the 2023-24 academic term.

The council says measures around schools make travel safer

The council says measures around schools make travel safer - Credit: Polly Hancock

Cllr Oliver Cooper (Con, Hampstead Town), Camden’s opposition leader, said: “While generally positive, Camden should learn from what's happened, and conduct a new trial with some much needed amendments, rather than setting the details in stone.  

"Several elderly and disabled residents have complained that even low-emission taxis and minicabs aren't allowed to enter the area to pick them up. This makes it harder for many vulnerable residents to live locally.” 

A freedom of information request in July showed the council issued 9,296 penalties totalling £396,000 in the four months since the scheme was enforced.

Cllr Adam Harrison, Camden’s transport lead, said: “Our aim is to make travelling to and from school, safer and healthier for children, their families and school staff.  

“Camden’s Healthy School Street schemes will help to do that by encouraging active travel as well as addressing issues around schools such as congestion, road danger, poor air quality and the level of carbon emissions.” 

The consultation is open until November 22 at: https://consultations.wearecamden.org/supporting-communities/nofconsultation/

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