Camden Council are consulting on a proposal to create a “healthy school street” on the south side of Bedford Square which they claim “will improve safety for local residents, parents and pupils accessing Ecole Jeanine Manuel School”.
Under the plans motor vehicles would be prohibited from entering Bedford Square from Bloomsbury Street on Mondays to Fridays from 8.00am to 9.00am and from 3pm 4.30pm during the school term.
“The restrictions would be enforced using an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera, which allows for some vehicles to be exempt from the restrictions,” says Camden.
The one-way system on all sides of the square will remain in place, and a new cycle contraflow will be created on south side.
However the scheme will still allow drivers to access Bedford Square via Bedford Avenue, merely shifting the motor traffic — including drivers dropping off and picking up pupils — from one street to another. An improvement for the street in front of the school but making things worse for people living on Bedford Avenue.
Ecole Jeanine Manuel School is a bi-lingual international school for students from pre-school nursery to year 13. The fees are about £20,000 a year with 20 percent of the children qualifying for a discount through a bursary.
There are 489 pupils and the school is “Silver Accredited” by TfL’s programme for sustainable travel, according to the school’s website.
Camden’s proposed scheme would be introduced as a trial for a maximum of 18 months. After 12 months a further consultation would be carried out to decide whether to make the scheme permanent.
A public consultation on the initial trial scheme is open until 15 February 2021.