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School traffic banning project rolled out to Huntly primary

By Kirstie Topp - Local Democracy Reporter

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A trial project banning traffic from outside of schools will be rolled out to five additional ones across Aberdeenshire including Gordon Primary in Huntly.

The School Streets scheme is aimed at encouraging families to leave the car at home and make it safer for children to walk or cycle to school.

It was introduced at South Park School in Fraserburgh last May and has proven to be a huge success.

A traffic trial project will be rolled out to Gordon Primary School in Huntly.
A traffic trial project will be rolled out to Gordon Primary School in Huntly.

Under the trial, vehicles are banned from streets surrounding the school for an hour at the start and end of the school day.

Only vehicles with a valid permit or Blue Badge holders, emergency services, council vehicles, delivery vehicles, care workers and taxis are exempt.

Signs are in place on the impacted roads which flash to indicate when the closures are in operation.

But now the scheme will be extended to five additional schools following the “encouraging” results seen in Fraserburgh.

School Streets will soon be introduced at the following locations:

• Buchanhaven School, Peterhead

• Auchterellon School, Ellon

• Kellands School, Inverurie

• Arduthie School, Stonehaven

• Gordon Primary, Huntly

Council bosses were keen to extend the School Streets project at other sites across Aberdeenshire as it had proven to reduce traffic outside South Park School.

Since the measures were implemented last May, walking and cycling has increased to 67 per cent, while driving levels have dropped to just four per cent.

The number of vehicles found around the surrounding streets during peak times had also fallen.

Surveys on the scheme were carried out with residents and parents, which gathered 197 responses.

More than half (54 per cent) of respondents were strongly in favour of School Streets, with a further 28 per cent partially in favour.

The project also proved to be a hit with head teacher Carol Irvine, who said she wanted the scheme to remain in place.

The Fraserburgh trial is due to end in December, however councillors are expected to consider its future before then.

The trial extension was considered by the infrastructure services committee.

Councillor Catherine Victor asked for some clarity around Arduthie School.

She believed closing the busy Queen’s Road could cause some problems.

However, she was assured that the street would not be included in the current proposal.

The North Kincardine councillor also asked if Portlethen Primary School could be considered as part of the scheme.

She explained: “I would love to see that school on the list because there has been a safety issue there for a long time,” she said.

But, infrastructure chief Martin Hall told her other schemes and activities could be carried out at the school to help instead.

Meanwhile, Inverurie councillor Marion Ewenson welcomed the addition of Kellands School and admitted she would follow the project with interest.

But she wasn’t convinced this would be an immediate fix.

“It’s just neverending, the issues with folk parking there,” she stated.

The councillor also said she was worried the problem would “just move itself” as she believed cars would still travel to the school.

She explained that new housing estates “quite a distance” from the school were to blame for the increased traffic problems at Kellands.

Mr Hall tried to relieve her concerns by telling her the school would inform parents of the project and try to get their cooperation.

He suggested that schemes such as park and stride could be used if parents had further to travel.

The committee went on to unanimously approve the trial extension.

It is believed the School Streets projects will be in place at the five additional schools within the next 10 months.

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