Anger as school car ban ‘will miss hot spots’

Neil Cox, left, with families at Bruntsfield Primary. Picture: Jon Savage

Neil Cox, left, with families at Bruntsfield Primary. Picture: Jon Savage

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A MOVE to ban traffic from the streets surrounding city primaries has come under fire for failing to include the city’s “more dangerous” areas.

The plans, which aim to improve pupil safety, will introduce an exclusion zone around schools during the busy morning and afternoon periods.

The first 11 schools to pilot the scheme will include ­Duddingston, St John’s, Abbeyhill, Colinton, Sciennes and ­Cramond, with Towerbank, St Peter’s, Clermiston, Bonaly and Buckstone to follow in a second phase.

But the policy has already sparked controversy – with local businesses arguing the reduction of traffic will harm their trade, and furious 
parents saying the scope of the trial is “too limited”.

Neil Cox, the father of a pupil at Bruntsfield Primary, said the council’s decision not to include that school in the trial was disappointing.

“Our school has a very high percentage of pupils that are walking or cycling, and a very small percentage that are driven by parents,” he said.

“But the access roads are so thin that the few parents that do drop their children off 
are creating chaos by clogging up those roads very easily – to the point where it’s creating a serious hazard for those children that are walking.

“In some ways, the situation at Bruntsfield is more dangerous than other schools.”

Parents at Pentland Primary School, which was also excluded from the trial, added that there is a high level of support in their area to see the policy adopted, with traffic on the local access roads considered a long-standing problem.

Parent Marnie Munro said: “I think there would be a lot of support amongst the parents at our school to see this policy introduced here, but it would have to really be enforced to make any impact.”

Some businesses in the vicinity of schools that have been selected for the trial say they are already dreading what the ban could mean for takings.

Mahmoud Tariq, who manages Sciennes Newsagents, admitted he fears traffic calming measures near Sciennes Primary will harm profits. “It will definitely have a negative affect on business,” he said.

“Traffic does seem to be a problem around the school, but a lot of our business comes from that traffic – and I think there are better ways to improve safety than just banning cars altogether.”

The scheme could be implemented as early as August next year.