Bedford school trials project to improve child safety and health

Castle Newnham School Street trial York Street
York Street, near Castle Newnham School will be restricted to various vehicles during school pick up times. Image: cllr Lucy Bywater

A new pilot project, which will see motor vehicles banned from a Bedford street during certain times of the day, is being trialled in the hopes it will help improve child safety and health on their way to and from a Bedford school.

For the duration of the current school year, an area of York Street near Castle Newnham School will be closed during term time between 8:15-9:00am and 3:00-3:45pm, for motorised vehicles.

“As a school in the heart of our community, we have always been proud of the number of children who already walk, scoot and cycle to school,” said Kat Edwards, head teach at Castle Newnham primary.

“The new School Street now makes it safer and more pleasant for both children and their parents on the journey to school, so we hope this encourages even more families to travel to school actively where possible”.

The pilot, which has been in place since the school year started earlier this month, has already received positive feedback. School parent Karen Knight said: “My son loves it as he can safely ride down the road. I feel far safer too.”

This is Bedford’s fourth School Street pilot. School Streets is an initiative to create safer streets near schools by helping to reduce traffic and dangerous parking and improving local air quality.

Read: Secondary school added to the no-car ‘School Street’ scheme

Volunteer marshals at each end of the road will help remind drivers that the restriction are in place. These include parents, the chair of governors and people living nearby and will be coordinated by cllr Lucy Bywater (Castle & Newnham, Green).

Cllr Paul Edmunds and Cllr Lucy Bywater (Castle & Newnham, Green)
Cllr Paul Edmunds and Cllr Lucy Bywater (Castle & Newnham, Green)

“It’s been great working with the school and council to get this off the ground and we’ve had a lot of positive comments from parents and children saying what a difference it makes to them,” said cllr Bywater.

“What we need now are more volunteer marshals, so we’d love to hear from parents and locals willing to join the team, even just for the occasional session. It’s an easy way to support our school and community”.

Blue badges, emergency vehicles and parents of children with SEND will still have vehicle access at all times, as will people living within the restricted zone.

For more information and to volunteer, contact cllr Lucy Bywater on