The street leading to a Pudsey primary school could be closed to traffic during the school run under plans by the council to bring in an experimental social distancing scheme, writes Richard Beecham.
Plans from Leeds City Council will see roads around six schools across the city closed off with cones and signs and would be staffed to allow exempt vehicles to pass, such as those of local residents.
It is hoped that this will make social distancing easier for parents taking their children to school as lockdown restrictions are gradually relaxed. The move would effectively pedestrianise whole streets.
Primrose Hill Primary in Pudsey has been chosen as one of the schools, alongside Ingram Road Primary School, Holbeck; Clapgate Primary, Middleton; Lane End Primary, Beeston; Thorpe Primary in Thorpe; and Crossgates Primary School, Cross Gates.
The whole of Primrose Hill outside Primrose Hill Primary is proposed to be closed between 8.10am-9.20am and 2.40pm-3.50pm. The planned street closures will be in place from Monday to Friday once the school reopens. The roads will, however, be open to permit holders
A report by council officers claims the pilot scheme is intended to be rolled out to other schools, which could mean further street closures if successful. It added:
“These schools have been chosen due to previous work having been carried out to establish the ability to implement road closures through Play Streets and other assessment work. It is expected that a large number of other schools will be able to also implement School Streets but these sites will be established at a later date and funding will be required from central government to support a wider rollout.
“The schools have been identified as being in locations that are quick wins in relation to being able to support such street closures as they have previously taken part in Play Streets or have local support and will provide a model that can be rolled out across other schools in Leeds.
“School Streets require the full support of the headteacher to be introduced. Additional schools will be subject to further approvals to be funded from the central government funds to support COVID-19 interventions.”
It is not known exactly when the measures will be introduced, as Leeds City Council have told schools to make individual decisions on when to reopen, due to differing levels of public safety.
It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that schools could reopen, for certain year groups, from June 1 at the earliest.