Headteachers unite to support 20mph speed limit near Harrogate schools
Last updated Jun 29, 2023
Road safety group members at yesterday's meeting.

The leaders of 13 schools and education settings in Harrogate have called for councillors to commit to urgent road safety improvements when they meet on Tuesday

The road safety group, which also includes campaigners and local councillors, met yesterday at Ashville College as part of its ongoing bid to create safer streets for 9,000 pupils.

North Yorkshire Council will consider on Tuesday how to respond to a petition calling for a maximum speed of 20mph across south and west Harrogate — covering Oatlands and parts of Pannal, Stray, Hookstone and St Georges areas in Harrogate. The agenda for the meeting is here.

Councillors on the Harrogate and Knaresborough area constituency committee passed a motion supporting the measures last year. But it requires the support of the council’s ruling Conservative-controlled executive to proceed.

Cllr Keane Duncan, the Conservative executive councillor for highways, appeared to dampen hopes this week when he said the council planned to draw up a speed management strategy rather than agree to 20mph limits.

Cllr Pat Marsh, the Liberal Democrat chair of the area constituency committee, described the move as “kicking the can down the road”.

But school leaders and campaigners remain hopeful of a successful outcome. In a joint statement, they said:

“There is strong evidence from studies of the positive impacts of maximum speeds of 20mph, and we urge the members of the executive to approve the motion, so safer roads can be created for our schools and the wider community, with a clear programme and timeframe for delivery.

“A maximum speed of 20mph is a key foundation in creating a safer urban environment for all and it encourages healthy active travel choices, from door to destination, around the community. “

The road safety group added whatever the outcome, it will “continue to push for investment in the safety of the roads around our schools, including: maximum speeds of 20mph, upgraded crossings, better use of double yellow lines, and repairs to damaged or outdated pavements, barriers and kerbs”.

Hazel Peacock hands the road safety petition to Elizabeth Jackson of North Yorkshire Council

Campaigner Hazel Peacock handing the road safety petition to North Yorkshire Council in May.

Cllr John Mann, a Conservative who represents Oatlands and Pannal, said he welcomed the council’s recommendation “to undertake a series of planned speed limit reviews delivered over a period of time, which will generate a pipeline of schemes”.

He added:

“Given the tragic road accidents that have recently occurred near to schools in Oatlands this year, I am calling for my recent applications for 20mph limits for Yew Tree Lane, Green Lane and Hookstone Road to be given a high priority in the highways pipeline of schemes for the introduction of 20mph limits.”

Cllr Mann said he would allocate his £10,000 locality budget, which each councillor receives to spend on local initiatives, for road safety schemes.

The school leaders who attended yesterday’s meeting were:

  1. Richard Sheriff, chief executive, Red Kite Learning Trust
  2. Jane Goodwin, interim chief executive, Yorkshire Causeway Schools Trust
  3. Dave Thornton, interim headteacher and Iain Addison, deputy head at St Aidan’s CE School
  4. Neil Renton, headteacher, Harrogate Grammar School
  5. Tim Milburn, headteacher, Rossett School
  6. Rhiannon Wilkinson, headteacher and Richard Rooze, bursar at Ashville College
  7. Corrine Penhale, headteacher, Rossett Acre Primary School
  8. Tim Broad, headteacher, Western Primary School
  9. Zoe Anderson, headteacher, Oatlands Infant School
  10. Estelle Scarth, headteacher, Oatlands Junior School
  11. Steve Mort, headteacher, St John Fisher’s Catholic High School
  12. Dr Helen Davey, headteacher/Emma Mitchell, business manager, Willow Tree Primary
  13. Jane Turner, headteacher, Pannal Primary School
  14. Victoria Kirkman, executive headteacher, Admiral Long and Birstwith CE schools and interim executive headteacher, Ripley Endowed CE, Beckwithshaw & Kettlesing Schools
  15. Danny Wild, principal and Kate Herbert, performance and projects co-ordinator, Harrogate College

Campaigners who attended:

  • Hazel Peacock and Dr Vicki Evans – Oatlands Road Safety and Active Travel Campaign
  • Dr Jenny Marks and Ruth Lily – Pannal Ash Safe Streets

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