Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of participating in an incredibly positive meeting about how The Heights primary school is going to minimise vehicle journeys to their new building at Mapledurham Playing Fields (MPF).
The Heights had invited local representatives from MPF's sporting groups, one of the local residents associations and me to discuss their draft Travel Plan for when they open in June after summer half-term.
The school has been working up plans to minimise additional traffic to the local area.
You may say you'd rather watch paint dry, but if you'd been there hearing the school's representatives relate their forensically detailed draft Travel Plan you'd have been as impressed and reassured as those present.*
Karen Edwards, The Heights' inspirational Headteacher, together with her wonderful governors and parents involved in the Travel Plan, truly have gone the extra mile. They've got a proven track record of sustainable travel which the school community has pledged to improve yet further at MPF. Health and sustainability are truly embedded in the school's DNA.
Measures for minimising vehicles to school include a 'bike bus', a 'walking bus', identifying safe lit walk routes, ensuring all who come to the school are fully aware of the public transport options and minimal on-site school parking. Other initiatives include identifying parents' drives available for staff members to park on and, once restrictions permit, car sharing.
After the initial 3 months of the school being up and running at MPF, there will be an assessment and a consideration of whether any additional measures are needed.
A whopping 91% of parents have pledged to walk, cycle, scoot, take public transport or park and walk to MPF. The school aims to hold a public event to enable local residents to see the new building (lockdown restrictions permitting) and will also be communicating how and to whom any concerns can be raised.
I trust residents living close to the school will feel reassured by The Heights' responsible and considerate approach. I'll continue to liaise closely with the school, the council, residents and MPF user groups to mitigate the impact of increasing numbers coming to MPF. As always do contact me if you'd like some advice or help.
* Update: Martin Brommell, the Warren and District Residents Association's representative attending the meeting, has asked me to highlight that some WADRA members who didn't attend still have concerns about the potential impact of traffic once the school opens, as does he.