School parking scheme ditched following outcry from residents

UNPOPULAR parking restrictions which were to be enforced after the opening of a controversial new secondary school will not now be introduced after studies found they were not actually required.

Highways bosses at Sheffield Council had called for the no-waiting restrictions close to the new Forge Valley School in Stannington, which opened in September 2011 to replace two old secondaries.

The decision to merge Myers Grove and Wisewood schools caused anger among the local community, with some parents taking legal action, and residents were furious when they discovered that the council was also set to stop parking in the area.

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According to officers, a “transport assessment” had been carried out by consultants before the school opened to “provide an independent assessment of the highways impacts of the new school”.

A list of required works was then drawn up including pedestrian crossings, new traffic islands and cycle paths, many of which have already been implemented or are planned for action later this year.

But the recommendation that waiting restrictions be introduced on Stannington Road close to the new school site met with vehement opposition from people living on the affected roads and a petition was raised.

In a report to Sheffield Council’s cabinet highways committee, which meets next Thursday, officers admit that a second study has revealed that the no-parking rules were not required.

Simon Green, the council director responsible says: “The traffic assessment recommended the provision of waiting restrictions on Stannington Road, near to the junction with Malin Road, to offset the impact of the expected increase in traffic generated by the new school.

“This proposal would have removed the double parking on Stannington Road which results in an informal ‘give way’ as there is insufficient room for vehicles to pass.

“The concern highlighted in the assessment was that this parking could lead to significant queuing, which could cause delays in the area.

“This proposal was the subject of significant objection, including a petition, due to the loss of parking for residents.

“In view of this discontent, it was recommended and subsequently approved by cabinet highways committee that this proposal should be re-investigated following the opening of the school, once the impact on traffic could be assessed.”

Mr Green says traffic counts were carried out both before the school opened on September 5 last year and afterwards, both in October and November, when bad weather conditions could have led to congestion.

But the study revealed traffic levels have “remained stable” despite the opening of the new school, with “no particular adverse effects at any time”.

Mr Green’s report continues: “Traffic counts were carried out again in November 2011, when it was thought that adverse weather and darker nights might impact on pupils’ mode of travel and cause traffic levels to rise.

“The site observations have shown that many children are walking to school from the Wisewood area, utilising the new puffin crossing on Loxley Road, and the new bus service provided by Mass Brightbus has been successful with two vehicles used on a daily basis to bring pupils from the Wisewood and Wadsley areas.

“It is considered likely that these initiatives have helped to ensure that the number of pupils being driven to school is minimal.

“Generally it is felt that the measures and initiatives implemented to date have had a positive effect, leading to the expected trip generation not being realised.

“In view of the lack of additional traffic related to the school, it is recommended that the proposed waiting restrictions on Stannington Road are not progressed.”