Pollution and parking in Stortford are primary concerns for Herts county councillor
Safety and air quality outside Bishop’s Stortford schools are being targeted by Cllr Colin Woodward.
The three-hatted Tory, who serves on the town, East Herts district and Herts county councils, wants advisory 20mph limit zones introduced as standard and a raft of parking restrictions to protect pupils and combat pollution.
In his county councillor capacity, he has already worked extensively with schools in the Great Hadham Road area: primary schools St Joseph’s Catholic, St Michael’s C of E VA and Windhill 21, and Bishop’s Stortford College and its prep school.
He said: “At our regular joint schools travel meetings, where I include my highways officer and the Herts County Council road safety officer, with their agreement, I introduced the first Bishop’s Stortford 20mph advisory limit and adjusted the parking regime.”
Cllr Woodward has backed the clearing of verges to improve walking routes and crossing points for pedestrians, and is allocating money for speed indicator devices (SIDs) in his budget this year for other schools alongside pressing for no idling signs and an extension by East Herts Council of the Hockerill Air Quality Management Area.
He also wants to explore the use of public space protection orders (PSPOs) to ban parking near schools in the interests of safety and health. Failure to comply can lead to fines of up to £130.
“At many of our schools – certainly here in Bishop’s Stortford, but I’m sure we aren’t unique – there's a growing parking problem and, of course, the school run is a major cause of congestion and air pollution," said Cllr Woodward.
“Herts County Council road safety officers are doing a sterling job with attempts at ‘modal shift’, but a swifter behavioural change is needed. I think we should consider that the problem is now in many cases so serious that radical moves should be considered.”
He suggested ‘kiss and drop zones’, with either manned or automatic gates to allow passing parent drop-off for all school new-builds or expansions, and targeted short-term parking bays for parents at existing institutions.
He said: “If we don’t get radical then modal shift isn’t going to happen within this or the next decade.”
However, he accepted that some parents had to drive and drop off their children and that public transport was often inadequate, and added: “The challenge is balancing provision, without encouraging cars, and penalty.”