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School Streets consultation extended

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FROME Town Council has delayed its School Streets road scheme following a meeting with Somerset Highways Authority and the Police.

The council reports, “School Streets, which was due to start next week on Monday 7th September as the schools return, is an initiative which gives priority to walking and cycling by limiting vehicle access.

“This helps to make walking and cycling feels much safer and encourages more families to actively travel. Walking and cycling will help to reduce air pollution and enable social distancing.

“The trial will still go ahead but following comments from the Police and members of the public plans will be amended in line with local feedback. This will allow the scheme to take account of local knowledge and give more room to fully engage with the school community.

“Although the pop-up trial will not be in place for the start of term it is hoped to be up and running over the coming weeks and both schools and the police are reiterating their support and the importance of active travel for the community.

“The delay also has wider community benefits as after school clubs should be in place, the town centre works will also have finished and further conversations with the community will have taken place.”

Anita Collier, Mayor of Frome said, “It is really important that something is done to protect both students and residents around schools from increasingly high levels of traffic pollution and to allow for social distancing as schools return. However, it is also important that we listen to local knowledge and expertise from the police to ensure that the scheme is robust and workable. Of course, walking and cycling (and scooting) to school remain the healthiest option for those children who can and I would urge all that can to, and I look forward to seeing the amended School Street plans as they are revealed in the coming weeks.”

Over the last few years Frome Town Council have run an Active Travel Challenge in schools across Frome which has been widely supported throughout the school communities and has seen a decrease in car usage by 20%.

It is hoped that the pop-up will encourage families to continue to recognise the benefits and where possible reduce car use on the school run and where not to incorporate 5 minutes of exercise into their daily routine by parking and park and striding to school. The pop-up when it gets underway will be a trial, will continue to be reviewed frequently and will leave access for anyone who lives in these streets plus school staff, buses, disabled drivers, deliveries and other personal emergencies. It will also be possible for cars to carefully cross over the School Street area where needed.

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