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Kent's first 'school street' to open by Drapers Mills Primary in Margate banning traffic during the school run

The county's first 'school street' is being launched outside a primary, banning traffic during the school run to help cut pollution and keep children safe.

From Monday, St Peter’s Footpath in Margate, outside Drapers Mills Primary Academy, will be temporarily closed on weekday mornings between 8am and 9.30am and in the afternoon between 2pm and 3.30pm.

St Peter's Footpath in Margate will become Kent's first 'school street'. Picture: Google
St Peter's Footpath in Margate will become Kent's first 'school street'. Picture: Google

Signs will be put up and road narrowing put in on College Road to warn drivers of the changes and help slow down traffic passing the school.

The term 'school street' refers to a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times, to tackle air pollution, poor health and road danger.

The aim is to create a safer, healthier and more pleasant environment while also helping with social distancing.

Changes are expected to be in place until July 22 in Margate.

KCC cabinet member for highways and transport Michael Payne says Kent Highways officers are trialling the scheme to see what impact it has.

KCC Cllr Michael Payne
KCC Cllr Michael Payne

“If successful, they hope to make it permanent in September and then to start rolling out similar schemes for other schools across the county,” he said.

“We want to make journeys to and from school by foot and bicycle as safe as possible for children and so aim to slow down traffic and provide safer routes for pupils."

Head teacher Joe Manclark says the school is happy to explore any opportunity to keep children safe and healthy.

"If there are less cars on the road and more families walk, cycle or use their scooters to get to school then that is a good thing," he said.

"We know 40% of our children come from more than a 30 minute walk away but this action will stop cars coming down a narrow road and instead families can park away from the school and walk the final 300 or 400 yards."

Cllr Barry Lewis (Lab), county councillor for Margate and a governor at the school, added: "I welcome the change in policy by KCC and that the county council is going forward with this.

"I will keep KCC to their word and hope this will be the first of many school streets in Kent."

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