Children call for 20mph limit outside Bournemouth school

St Michael’s Church of England Primary School, on Somerville Road in Bournemouth, has launched a petition to make the school safer.

The school’s parliament, involving children from year three to year six, have been involved every step of the way in their campaign and have been drafting letters to local councillors.

The petition was created after a near miss with a child and a motorist on a zebra crossing outside the school, on West Hill Road, last month.

After being contacted about the petition, BCP Council now says it will introduce the lower speed limit on West Hill Road.

Bournemouth Echo: West Hill Road, Bournemouth

Somerville Road, lining one side of the school, is currently closed to traffic during peak hours as part of BCP Council’s trailed school streets scheme.

However, staff and pupils are calling for the adjacent road, West Hill Road, to also be subjected to slower traffic as soon as possible.

The BCP Council e-petition titled ‘Need to Reduce Speed’ says the 30mph road is an “accident waiting to happen.”

Bournemouth Echo: St Michael’s Church of England Primary School, on Somerville Road in Bournemouth

Reception teacher, Hannah Adeney, said many children and parents cross the road to get to school and that most schools already have 20mph zones.

“We relaunched the school parliament and the house system this year,” said Miss Adeney.

“The headteacher spoke about the road and then we spoke about it with the children.”

She added that the pupils are “really passionate” about their roles within the school parliament and have been rehearsing their lesson to younger pupils on road safety.

School parliament member Yakkshita said: “I enjoy being in school parliament, we get to do things that others can’t do as much. It is fun to help others.”

Councillor Millie Earl, deputy leader and portfolio holder of connected communities said: “We published plans in March 2023 to add a 20mph speed limit to several roads in Bournemouth town centre, including West Hill Road. 

“There will also be traffic calming measures installed, including speed humps on West Hill Road.

“Work will begin on this later this year.

“I am really pleased to see that the children of the school are engaging with democracy, including through their school’s parliament.

“I can see that the petition has already reached 50 signatures, and as cabinet member for this area, I will be responding to the petitioner.”

Bournemouth Echo | News