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Six months on and Fraserburgh school site car ban shows signs of progress

By Kirstie Topp - Local Democracy Reporter

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A temporary vehicle ban outside a Fraserburgh school has proved to be working – but anyone found breaking the rules could face being fined.

Roads at South Park School in Fraserburgh are to be restricted on a trial basis
Roads at South Park School in Fraserburgh are to be restricted on a trial basis

The 18-month road closure outside South Park School was launched at the end of May with an aim to reduce the number of vehicles transporting pupils to and from school.

It set out to make streets around the facility safer for youngsters, while ensuring those living nearby were not blocked in due to traffic congestion.

Under the pilot project, Philorth Avenue and St Modan’s Place are closed to traffic for an hour during the morning and afternoon school runs.

New signs are now in place that flash when the ban is in operation.

Current findings from the temporary scheme were given to members of the Banff and Buchan area committee at their recent meeting.

Aberdeenshire Council carried out traffic and air quality surveys before and after the scheme launched to see the difference it has made.

The local authority has also received feedback from school staff, community wardens and the police who have all been monitoring the project.

Three traffic surveys – one held before the trial, one throughout June and the last in September, were carried out on the affected and surrounding streets.

In the morning closure, held from 8.15am-9.15am, there has been an average reduction of 90 vehicles.

While in the afternoon period from 2.30pm to 3.30pm, there has been a reduction of 68 cars.

But while the ban has been positive outside the school, it has had the opposite impact on neighbouring streets.

The local authority has noted there has been extra cars on Witchhill Road, Mormond Avenue and Provost Milne Drive.

However the ban has changed the way children choose to travel to school.

In September, South Park School took part in the Sustrans Hands Up survey.

Data showed that the number of youngsters walking or cycling has increased to 67 per cent, up from 56 per cent in 2022.

However 26 comments submitted to an online survey gave mixed feedback.

Some argued the ban created a safer environment for pupils, others said some drivers ignored the signs while parking on neighbouring streets was also a concern.

But from now on, anyone found to be in the zone during the ban will be issued with a fine.

Strategy development officer Joanna Stewart told the committee that one motorist has already been issued with a fine for parking on a neighbouring street.

However she warned that winter would be a “real test” for the project as parents may choose to use their cars as the weather turns colder.

Councillor Doreen Mair noted that parking issues have been a problem in the area for “many years” and the council had tried many strategies to solve it.

She said: “The streets are narrow, there have already been incidents of children being hurt beside the school.

“Anything we can do to help that is absolutely necessary.

“I hope that people will realise that this is for their children’s safety and stick to the rules and be considerate of neighbours to the school.”

Meanwhile fellow councillor Seamus Logan said it was a “very important project” for Fraserburgh.

He also said that parents at St Andrews School were monitoring the scheme with a hope to implement something similar there.

But while Aberdeenshire Council would like to extend the initiative, Ms Stewart said the local authority was “not quite there” at the moment.

The temporary vehicle ban will be in place until December 2024, but a decision on whether to make it permanent is expected to be made next summer.

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