College safety scheme backed

PLANS to introduce a 20mph speed limit on a busy street during school hours have been backed.

Hartlepool Borough Council is to slash the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph in Raby Road, between Chester Road and Powlett Road, near Dyke House Sports and Technology College.

The new limit will only be in operation during school arrival and leaving times and a flashing sign will tell motorists when it is in use.

Council chiefs say it will improve road safety near the Mapleton Road school.

Residents, businesses, ward councillors and the school had all been consulted and there were no objections to the plans.

But plans to introduce a permanent 20mph speed limit on the residential streets surrounding the school will go out to public consultation.

Traffic officers are looking to bring in the new limit in streets bounded by Raby Road, Brougham Terrace and Lancaster Road.

It comes after the “20’s Plenty” scrutiny investigation in 2006 called for 20mph limits outside schools.

Since then it has become council policy and several schemes have been introduced across town.

Labour councillor Pamela Hargreaves, transport and neighbourhoods portfolio holder, discussed the school safety scheme at a recent council meeting.

Coun Hargreaves said she was happy to approve the variable 20mph zone on Raby Road, but wanted a consultation carried out on the plans for the permanent 20mph zone in the surrounding streets.

The results are expected to be available at the next portfolio meeting.

Coun Hargreaves also backed plans to move two bus stops in Raby Road.

The southbound bus stop, opposite Challoner Road, will be relocated 120ft further north along the road away from the junction.

It was also agreed to move the southbound stop away from the Chester Road junction into an existing lay-by.

Dyke House School had called for the bus stops to be moved.

A report by Mike Blair, highways, traffic and transport manager at the council, said: “The re-location of the bus stops will also help reduce congestion at the Chester Road and Challoner Road junctions.”

The total cost of introducing the new speed limits is £12,000, £7,000 of which will come from the Local Transport Plan and £5,000 from the north neighbourhood consultative forum.

Work to relocate the bus stops will cost £10,000 and that will be funded from the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements project.