ePetition - Keep the permanent closure by Brunswick school, on Somerhill road

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ePetition details

Keep the permanent closure by Brunswick school, on Somerhill road

We the undersigned petition Brighton & Hove Council to keep Somerhill Road closed to motorised traffic at all times at the South end junction to Lansdowne Road (so retaining the arrangement in place on 22.10.21 under the street closure scheme). Ref: TRO-18-2020 Brunswick Primary / Somerhill Road Closure

We believe the closure has very positively transformed Somerhill Road to a much quieter,
safer and cleaner street. The closure has slowed vehicles down and reduced the rat run traffic of
people using the street to avoid traffic lights in Holland Road. In particular, the improvement for
safer crossing at the Lansdowne road junction (previously a difficult one with low visibility) has
been massive. That closure benefits not only the residents and the Brunswick Primary
community but also the many people on foot, cycles, mobility aids and vehicles using it. A lot of
these people go along or cross Somerhill Road to reach St Ann’s Well Gardens and the many
schools and nurseries in the area at different times during the day, from the very early morning to
the evening, making a permanent closure a useful tool to make the street more pleasant and safer.

Most importantly, the closure has immensely helped the Brunswick Primary School Street
Scheme, making it more effective, safer and sustainable in the longer term as it is exclusively run by volunteers. We believe a permanent calmed traffic next to the largest primary school in the county is certainly justified.

We understand that some of the initial issues for rubbish collection highlighted by Cityclean
were then resolved. We also understand the concerns expressed by Wavertree House about
the number of vehicles entering the street and then u-turning at its closed end. However, we
believe better signage and infrastructure should drastically reduce the issue, and we hope we
can work together again with Wavertree House to minimise issues.

Finally, we believe the previous consultation was too short and not publicised enough (there
were only few opinions expressed there (with five comments of support and four objections).
Therefore, we ask the Council to further consult the residents as well as school and street users
in due time in the case of altering the scheme in place in order to find a better alternative to
all.

This ePetition ran from 24/10/2021 to 06/04/2022 and has now finished.

431 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

Thank you for your petition relating to the School Street at Brunswick Primary School.

School Streets offers a solution to many of the issues that schools and residents have experienced over many years including idling, double parking and dangerous driving at drop off and pick up times. The reduced traffic and reallocation of road space made available by School Streets closures also encourages people to make the school journey using sustainable modes such as cycling, walking and scooting.

As you will be aware, the School Streets closure at Brunswick Primary School on Somerhill Road was introduced as part of the council’s urgency response in the Covid-19 pandemic, which had the additional aim of supporting social distancing at drop off and pick up times. Infrastructure was implemented on Somerhill Road in March 2021 to support the sustainability of the closure and reduce the pressure on volunteers and schools to operate the closure at both ends of the road.

In September 2021, a report was presented to the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on the School Streets closures trialled through the emergency programme, including the one at Brunswick Primary School. It was recommended by officers that the permanent closure at one end of Somerhill Road was reverted to timed, temporary restrictions. The decision to remove the permanent filter, while maintaining the timed School Streets closure, was informed by the trial of the closure and concerns about road safety due to the lack of adequate turning space for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and other vehicles on Somerhill Road.

As the recommendation to revert the measures was approved by the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on 21 September 2021, the Traffic Regulation Order to revert the permanent measures and reinstate temporary, timed restrictions was sealed.

This has enabled the primary benefits of School Streets to be realised, as traffic is reduced at peak times while allowing the road to be open to through traffic the remainder of the time. The permanent filter has since been replaced with retractable bollards at one end and a gate at the other, which are operated by volunteers. These measures provide physical barriers to the road that prevent motor vehicles from entering during drop off and pick up times, while ensuring access at all times to those that are exempt.

We understand that the decision will be disappointing for some residents, as the permanent closure offered wider benefits including a reduction in overall traffic levels on Somerhill Road beyond school drop off and pick up times.

Officers will continue to monitor the closure and we are grateful for the continued support of volunteers, school staff and the local community.

 


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