Croydon’s failing council administration has had to abandon an important child safety measure, introduced during the covid lockdown, because they failed to organise in advance any replacement of what were initially temporary measures.
Campaigners who have fought for healthier, less-polluted and safer streets are said to be in “total despair” after the council this week announced the immediate cessation – what they called a “pause” – to 10 school street schemes.
The removal of the restrictions is because the council failed to follow the correct public consultation process when the restrictions were introduced in the autumn of 2020.
The school streets restricted the use of roads near to primaries, but were unpopular with many motorists, especially those who proved themselves incapable of reading road signs or following the Highway Code and so landed themselves with £60, or greater, fines.
It has been suggested that the rushed halting of restrictions – the council announced the removal of the school streets on Monday and removed the restrictions, on that same day – is because the council is facing a legal challenge to their implementation.
One clean air lobbyist told Inside Croydon: “School streets work, and their introduction in Croydon proved that they work, making the daily journeys to and from school for children and accompanying adults safer and less polluted.
“It’s not the first time that the council has introduced something and failed to follow proper procedures. They never seem to be on top of creating a proper timetable for any process, and in this instance, it’s the borough’s young children who will suffer.”
The 10 school streets, introduced in autumn 2020, “will be paused while Croydon Council prepares for fresh local consultation”, the council said in its announcement.
The council says that it used an Experimental Traffic Order for the introductions, which would usually require public consultation of at least six months. “Due to covid-19 lockdowns and school closures, their introduction and necessary consultation was disrupted,” the council said.
“The council now plans to prepare new Experimental Traffic Orders and accompanying consultations. There will be no enforcement during this period.
“These schemes have proven very popular with parents, schools and pupils, having made many pupils opt to walk, cycle or scoot as part of a healthier school run. This has led to quality time with parents and carers, better focus in class, and more sustainable journeys.”
And the council added: “The council intends to return these schemes as soon as possible and apologises for any disruption in the meantime.”
Which translated is an admission that council officials forgot to follow legal procedures and had not prepared for the ending of its own Experimental Traffic Orders and the replacement with new schemes.
The schemes affected are:
- Christ Church CofE Primary School – CR8 2QE
- Downsview Primary School – SE19 3XE
- Ecclesbourne Primary School – CR7 7FA
- Harris Primary Academy Haling Park – CR2 6HS
- Keston Primary School – CR5 1HP
- Harris Primary Academy Croydon – CR0 3JT
- Oasis Academy Ryelands – SE25 4XG
- Ridgeway Primary School – CR2 0EQ
- St Thomas Becket Catholic Primary – SE25 5BN
- St Joseph’s Catholic Junior School – SE19 3NU
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