- Bromley Conservatives halt roll out of the School Streets policy, designed to protect children at drop off and pick up times.
- They ignore clear evidence that School Streets are working well in Bromley and in other London Boroughs.
- Transport Portfolio Holder Cllr Bennett treated questions from members of the public with disdain and contempt.
This morning, Bromley Council’s Environment Committee considered the ‘call in’ made by Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors, asking for the decision made by Portfolio Holder Nicholas Bennett ‘not to roll out school streets across the borough’ to be reconsidered, in light of the clear benefits to the safety and health of the borough’s young people when travelling to and from school.
We were saddened, but not surprised, that the Conservatives chose to go ahead with the decision without even addressing the risk of harm the borough’s children face simply walking to or from school.
Cllrs Alisa Igoe, Kathy Bance MBE and Simon Jeal addressed in detail the many flaws in this decision. They argued that it:
- Ignored the success of the schools street pilot in achieving the council’s objectives agreed with the Mayor of London in the Local Implementation Plan;
- Took incomplete feedback results from one school (with a 200 space car park);
- Ignored strong evidence of support for school streets;
- Failed to even consult most of the schools in Bromley about whether they would want to implement school streets now, as levels of traffic and the number of people killed or seriously injured on Bromley roads rises significantly;
- Ignored the many different schemes implemented by other London Boroughs, almost all of which are implementing more school streets and have found resources and approaches which work effectively.
Labour councillors also argued that using number plate recognition cameras would make safety schemes work more effectively – but the council rejected using cameras on the basis that they don’t make enough money.
We were further shocked at the dismissive, arrogant and at times outright contemptuous behaviour of the Transport Portfolio Holder Cllr Nicholas Bennett towards members of the public who attended the meeting to ask questions. In most cases he refused to answer or engage with the questioner.
Residents who give up their Friday morning to come to a Council meeting should expect to be treated respectfully and with courtesy – which was very much not what they received from Councillor Bennett. We hope he will consider his behaviour and issue an apology.
Cllr Simon Jeal, Bromley Labour Leader, said: “This is another decision that does nothing to reduce dangerous levels of pollution around schools during peak times. Even worse, the Conservatives chose to make it much harder for schools and parents to have school streets implemented – even as just last week a child was hit by a car outside Leesons Hill Primary School, luckily not sustaining major injuries.”
Bromley Labour Councillors will continue to work with local schools, parents and residents who see the huge benefit school streets can have for Bromley’s children and will fight in the face of the Conservatives’ indifference for the council to support future schemes where we can.
From Bromley Labour Councillors:
Cllr Simon Jeal
Cllr Alisa Igoe
Cllr Jeremy Adams
Cllr Jessica Arnold
Cllr Kathy Bance
Cllr Kevin Kennedy-Brooks
Cllr Josh King
Cllr Ruth McGregor
Cllr Tony McPartlan
Cllr Chris Price
Cllr Ryan Thomson
Cllr Rebecca Wiffen