School ‘keep clear’ area unenforceable

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A LEGAL loophole which means most ‘keep clear’ zones outside schools are unenforceable will soon be closed.

Just three schools in the whole of Shoreham, Southwick, Steyning and Upper Beeding are currently covered by a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).

Despite the majority of schools using School Keep Clear (SKC) markings near entrance gates, the rest have no TRO, meaning the police cannot take any action if people park on them.

West Sussex county councillor Robin Rogers has led a lengthy campaign since he found out in 2009 that all but 10 per cent of SKC were totally unenforceable.

Adur County Local Committee (CLC) agreed on February 27 to make TROs for 14 schools and nurseries in the district a top priority.

Chanctonbury CLC followed last Wednesday by agreeing the same for a further 14 schools, including two in Steyning.

Shoreham Beach Primary School, Buckingham Park Primary in Shoreham, and Upper Beeding Primary are already covered by a TRO.

Principal community officer Cali Sparks told Chanctonbury CLC TROs might not be an option for all the schools on the list.

“SKC markings in the past have never been formalised so police could never enforce it,” she explained.

“This process is intended to formalise it where they are needed and necessary, so the police will be able to enforce it.”

Mr Rogers, who represents Northbrook division in Worthing, spoke out after Worthing CLC, which also met last Wednesday.

“I only found out when a police officer in my division asked me when we were going to sort out school keep clear zones,” he explained.

“I didn’t know what he was on about, then he said they were legally unenforceable. They needed time plates displayed by them, which they didn’t have.”

Mr Rogers lobbied the county council, but said it took several years for it to commit the funds. He said he felt the safety of children should outweigh any costs.

“I said when they built the Shoreham footbridge, which was over budget, they needed to find the funds for the keep clear zones, and they eventually agreed,” he added.

The TROs will need final approval by the cabinet and costs are estimated at £1,100 per school for markings and signage.

Governors at Steyning Primary School want to take things a step further.

Chairman David Herson told Chanctonbury CLC parents had raised concerns about parking and speed during a school consultation.

He said the TROs might cover parking in time, but the school also wanted a 20mph zone around the school and had collected 265 signatures on a petition.

“Our overall aim is to provide safer walking routes to school for children,” he said. “Many parents mentioned speed. That is the main reason parents are apprehensive about their children walking to school. They perceive a lower speed limit will make it safer for pupils to walk to school.”

Cllr David Barling said he was working with the school so it would not ‘drop off the radar’.

Principal community officer Cali Sparks said speed surveys would be the next step, to analyse traffic behaviour.