When planning permission was granted to Steiner Academy Exeter on 08 July 2015, there were some conditions attached to deal with concerns connected with traffic management.
5) Unless otherwise agreed by the Local Planning Authority in writing no part of the development hereby approved shall be brought into its intended use until
(i) the access, parking facilities, turning area and associated road markings have been provided in accordance with details that shall have been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Local Planning Authority, and
(ii) the applicant has entered into a Section 106 Agreement, or equivalent arrangement, with the County Council to secure the making of a Traffic Regulation Order relating to the road markings referred to in (i) above.
Thereafter those items referred to in (i) above shall be retained for the intended purpose at all times.
Reason : To ensure that a safe and suitable access is provided for all users to the site, in accordance with paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
6) The School Travel Plan prepared by RPS Planning and Development Ltd on behalf of the Education Funding Agency, and submitted in support of this application, shall be implemented in full upon commencement of the development hereby approved.
Thereafter it shall be reviewed on an annual basis in accordance with the provisions set out in Section 4.3 of the document. Any amendments identified in the annual review shall be submitted to and agreed in writing by the Planning Authority and shall thereafter form part of the approved plan.
Reason – To ensure that the development is implemented in such a way as to minimise the highway impact of the development and encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport
Yet still the ward councillors for Exwick are often contacted by local residents with unresolved issues about the traffic management.
I’ve visited the site with those local councillors on numerous occasions.
On one visit – a wet autumn morning – many cars arrived close or after the school start time. Was this due to traffic congestion elsewhere across the city?
Some other observations:
Traffic Regulation Order
SAE were required by Section 106 Agreement to enter into an agreement with Devon County Council to secure the making of a Traffic Regulation Order [TRO] for school zig-zag markings.
I see the yellow zig-zags – but what I don’t see is one of these:
Yellow zig zag lines without such a sign to accompany them do not have a Traffic Regulation Order giving the local council powers to issue PCN fines. Therefore it is technically legal to park on yellow zig zag lines without signs at any time.
However, these zig zag road markings are placed there to advise motorists not to wait or park on these lines for the safety of children and although the local council do not have the powers to enforce penalties, police frequently issue tickets on the grounds of causing an obstruction – either to other motorists or pedestrians.
So what DID happen to the TRO to make the markings mandatory – and therefore enforceable?
And the result – motorists not only waiting on these zig-zigs, but parked up as the driver takes their child into the school.
Advisable drop off points and routing
In the Parent’s Handbook, SAE are hope that the people of Foxhayes and Exwick experience the school as good neighbours during the two years on the temporary site. To this end they urge all parents, as far as possible, to limit car journeys to and from the site, especially at drop-off and pick-up times.
SAE provide all parents with additional guidance on parking, car share schemes, walking buses and the use of the site’s pedestrian entrances and the school’s website highlights parking and drop-off points.
Staff Marshalling and Traffic Management
There is constant reference in the Parent’s handbook and on the website that the school entrance does not allow for stopping. The school places an A-board at the entrance to reinforce this fact.
Yet on each and every site visit, I saw vehicles stopping to drop off children.
On one occasion, Alan Swindell [SAE Principal] was marshalling traffic, yet still parents stopped at the entrance to talk him – even though I was standing next to him in a yellow fluorescent jacket and he was telling the parent why I was there.
And another time, a senior member of staff only came out the marshall the traffic when I turned up with local councillors.
Throughout the planning application process, councillors were told that walking to school was a basic Steiner concept. Indeed, one parent told me that if Mr Swindell said that was the case, then children would walk in walking buses from the designated drop-off points.
So it was somewhat disappojnting to find that the walking bus was discontinued due lack of take-up of the offer!