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Responses to St Edmund's Catholic Primary's proposal to shut Westgate Street in Bury St Edmunds to be considered by Suffolk County Council



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Consultation on plans to close part of a Bury St Edmunds street during school drop-off and pick-up times has revealed ‘mixed views’.

St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School in Westgate Street wants to make a short section of the road pedestrian only for a 45-minute period in the morning and in the afternoon during term time.

The aim is to make the street safer to cycle, scoot or walk to school, as well as improve the air and environment and reduce inconsiderate parking.

Maria Kemble, executive head of St Edmund's Catholic Primary School, standing outside the school in Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton
Maria Kemble, executive head of St Edmund's Catholic Primary School, standing outside the school in Westgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Mecha Morton

After the school asked parents and local residents to share their views, executive head Maria Kemble said they had received 70 responses.

She said: “There were mixed views as to be expected. Some are fully in favour, some can see positives but have concerns and others are firmly against the idea.

“Concerns raised include access for residents, signage to ensure drivers know there is no access, management of the scheme, alternative parking places for parents to park and stride, and traffic in surrounding streets.”

Maria Kemble, executive head of St Edmund's Catholic Primary School
Maria Kemble, executive head of St Edmund's Catholic Primary School

She stressed residents would still be able to access the area during the closure with a banksman to ensure safety.

Addressing other points, she said Suffolk County Council’s highways team would be responsible for information being communicated to drivers about the closure and the school would manage the scheme with support from highways.

“We will continue to direct parents to use parking in the locality and are lobbying West Suffolk Council for more free parking for short periods that would encourage use of car parks rather than on-street parking,” Mrs Kemble added.

Vivien Gainsborough Foot, chairman of the Churchgate Area Association, said her group's concerns over the plans remained.

A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “We are working with the school, and we look forward to receiving the consultation responses. We will work with all parties to consider the impact of the proposals.”

In a new project with EcoCarriers Bury St Edmunds from September, St Edmund’s pupils will be able to get to and from school as part of a ‘bike train’ - which is children riding their own bikes in a group, supported by adult cyclists.

The school would also like to re-establish a walking bus scheme from the layby in Parkway.