Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Residents say they are 'prisoners in their own homes' after School Street scheme introduced

Locals claimed it wasn't the safe travel scheme they opposed, just how it was being implemented...

Residents living near a school have claimed they are 'prisoners in their own home' after a new traffic safety scheme was put in place.

Households in Durham Close, Cheltenham, said that since the School Streets scheme, that is currently being trialled at Warden Hill Primary School, has been introduced they feel like they are unable to leave their homes when they like, despite being provided with permits by the council to come and go as they please.

They also claim that parents and children are 'being unnecessarily encouraged to spread out across the road to walk to the school in the cul-de-sac'. 

Gloucestershire County Council is currently trialling an 18-month initiative with three schools in the county which aims to improve road safety and air quality, reduce traffic congestion, encourage active travel and healthy lifestyles.

One resident, Deborah Hughes, 56, spoke to Gloucestershire Live and expressed her anger at the scheme.

She said: "I've been here 24, 25 years, but some residents have been here 54 years and they're being told how they can live.

"In the name of the School Streets Scheme we're being told that for two hours every day we are not allowed to receive visitors, family, friends, tradesman or deliveries.

"This is after a year of restrictions because of Covid, and now further restrictions are being forced upon us, why are we being bullied?"

"They [Gloucestershire County Council / Gloucestershire Highways] arrived and put up signs and started painting lines and residents weren't told at all, there was no consultation.

"We always try and avoid kick out time, but deliveries are being blocked and businesses are being run here, you can't make people hold their life for two hours a day every day - it's like we're prisoners in our own homes."

Another family said that the scheme was restricting the care required for the household, they said: "In the 42 years we have lived here, there have been many occasions when we have had to call on district nurses to help with my husband's care.

"With the changes in the way nurses are now organised it would be a different nurse nearly every time.

"They would be unable to guarantee that they could come outside the restricted hours and would begrudge the time wasted in explaining who and why they are visiting, let alone the breach of privacy this raises."

Another said: "I have no way to arrange a date or time for the delivery of my medication, they are sent out using 48hour delivery, and usually arrive in the morning often between 8am and 9 am, what am I supposed to do if some jobsworth turns my medical delivery away if it arrives during the restricted hours?"

Gloucestershire County Council has said it is trialling an 18-month initiative with three schools in the county, starting from November 2, 2020. 

The Gloucestershire County Council website states that they will "work with schools to collect data on how pupils and staff travel to school", it also says that they will monitor traffic and air quality.

Mrs Hughes added: "We want a one way system on the path, but the school is making them mill all over the school and there are children are all over the road with their scooters.

"The children don't remember what time that is so it's happening all the time.

"My husband is a shift worker and he says it's an accident waiting to happen. They can come and go when they want but we can't.

"It's not the School Streets Scheme we have a problem with.

"It's how it's being implemented. School streets is never intended to affect the residents this way or block them from moving freely.

"Traffic needs to flow to and from the residents should be unaffected. They've put signs up that effectively stop people coming up the road."

A spokesman for Gloucestershire County Council said: “Durham Close, by Warden Hill Primary School, is closed to most traffic during school drop-off and pick-up times and is open to people on foot, bike or scooter.

"The school street scheme trial aims to improve road safety and air quality, reduce traffic congestion, encourage active travel and healthy lifestyles; as well as creating more space outside the school so people can keep to social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"All residents have been issued with permits allowing them and visitors including delivery vehicles, tradespeople and carers access to Durham Close during the road closure times. As this is a trial scheme we are always interested in feedback from residents, the school and pupils."

Warden Hill Primary School declined to comment.

Latest Comments