By Davina Hyde
A new school streets scheme has been rolled out, closing residential roads around a school during peak pick-up and drop-off times.
Merton council introduced the trial school streets scheme around Stanford School in Merton in September, but many people say there was very little notice and no prior consultation.
Residents in Hassocks Road, Byards Croft, Oxtoby Way and Chilmark Road are to be in a restricted area, and will have to apply to register their cars with the council to obtain an exemption from the new rules and fines.
Gareth Hamill, a resident of Byards Croft, said: “This hare-brained, ill thought-out scheme is grossly unfair and disruptive for local residents.
“It has been imposed without any prior consultation period and very little notice, and residents are to bear the brunt of much of the administrative burden.
“It claims to solve a problem for which no evidence has been produced, blocking off more than half a mile of local streets.
“Residents are being cut off for two-and-a-half hours each day, making most deliveries difficult or simply impossible, massively disrupting anyone who needs any sort of contractor or carer, and even calling a taxi or having friends visit is now impossible during the restricted hours.
“It affects the less able and vulnerable people most at a time when we are all already facing huge restrictions on our lives.”
Michelle Kolattek, 47, a resident of Byards Croft, said: “We do need to reduce pollution, and I support efforts being made, however, if you needed to get a taxi, you would have to walk to get it, and for an elderly person it is a good six or seven minutes’ walk (out of the restriction area).”
Cllr Martin Whelton, Merton council’s cabinet member for regeneration and housing, said: “We introduced trials for 25 new School Streets in September to create a safer environment outside schools to encourage walking and cycling, reduce congestion and improve air quality.
“The contributing factor to traffic within the vicinity of schools is often generated by parents or carers of pupils attending the school.
“Our aim as a council is to encourage parents not to use cars and travel by more sustainable forms of transport.
“We understand the schemes have an impact on residents, and so we allowed time for people to apply for exemptions to the traffic restrictions for circumstances such as the need to attend medical appointments or for visits by carers.
“We would urge residents to arrange for deliveries outside of School Street hours, but until the end of the year we will allow exemptions for supermarket deliveries.”
Further information on the school streets programme is available here.
Pictured top: One of the streets in the scheme
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