Residents in Merton are voicing their concerns a year after the Council’s introduction of the controversial school streets scheme was introduced.  The scheme, which began in September last year is still in a consultation period, with a final decision to make it perminent due from the Council in the first half of 2022.

A school street is a road near a school with restricted access to vehicles at drop-off and pick-up times. According to the Merton Council website, school streets allow children to safely walk, cycle and scoot into school.   The Council says that reducing vehicle journeys is important for improving air quality, climate change and will help to support a green recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.  Restrictions typically apply from 8am to 9am and 2.45pm to 4pm during school term time.

As part of their objective to reduce congestion and provide a safe environment within the vicinity of schools, the Council is implementing a number of road safety measures. These include ‘school keep clear’ zig-zag road markings to prevent drivers parking close to the school gates and traffic calming measures.  Although the Council says these actions have been successful, the level of congestion and air quality outside the schools still remain a concern.

Only people living on school streets can apply for a School Safety Zone permit, but many residents are angry that family, friends and tradesmen are being fined for visiting them for over ten hours per week. Any non-residents entering during the resticted times are liable for a £130 Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). 

One Raynes Park local said: “I really like the idea of a scheme to keep our kids safe, but the implementation is unbelievably inefficient".

“My son, who has special needs, gets transport to and from school, supplied by Merton Council. But the driver who  takes him has just been issued his second penalty charge because his drop off falls during the restricted hours on our road".

“Our neighbours have shared similar stories on the street WhatsApp group. Everyone is getting pretty fed up".