Pupils win fight to slash speed limit outside Sunderland school

Children at Richard Avenue Primary School campaigning in 2011.
Children at Richard Avenue Primary School campaigning in 2011.
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PINT-SIZED protestors have scored a victory for safety outside their school.

Thanks to a change in legislation, motorists could soon have to cut their speed near Richard Avenue Primary School.

More than two years ago youngsters, supported by staff, at the primary, launched a campaign against parents’ dodgy driving.

Fearing for their safety pupils, armed with banners and posters, staged a mass protest outside their Sunderland school, calling for the area to become a 20mph zone.

But at the time, the area around the Barnes school did not comply with the criteria to change the speed limit.

Now, following a change to regulations which allows Sunderland City Council to act where there is ‘an area of public concern’, it can plough ahead with moves to slash the speed limit near schools, and is using Richard Avenue Primary as a pilot scheme.

Karen Todd, headteacher at the school, said: “It will be absolutely great to have this put in place and will make it much safer for the children. It is brilliant news.”

Councillor Michael Essel, who has been supporting the school in its fight for improved road safety, said a public consultation will be carried out next month and if everyone is happy with the plans, the new speed limit would be brought into force early next year.

Coun Essel said: “I think this will be a huge relief to the parents and residents in that area. This has been a big area of concern for some time.”

Both the school and the residents’ association have regularly raised the issue and more than 200 people signed a petition calling for the speed reduction.

Mrs Todd, said speeding is not the only issue and staff and children still want to get the message across to parents about car parking chaos, such as parking on zig zag lines which make it difficult for people to cross roads safely.

She said: “As a school we need to constantly raise the problem of dangerous parking.”

The school regularly encourages parents to walk to school with their children, which would not only ease the traffic problems, but also improve fitness.