Mid and East Antrim school waiting restrictions: the names of those included – plus reaction to proposal

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Mid and East Antrim Council has been informed by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) of its intention to legislate for restrictions outside schools in the borough.

The council has received notification of the DfI’s proposal to legislate for existing ‘School Keep Clear’ waiting restrictions at peak hours in the morning and afternoon, at a number of schools in Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymena areas.

However, the proposal met with mixed reaction at a meeting of the council’s Neighbourhoods and Communities Committee on Tuesday evening.

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Carrickfergus Castle DUP Alderman Billy Ashe MBE said: “I have serious concerns about what Roads Service are doing. In the area I live, there are six schools within less than a mile.

Carrickfergus Grammar and Carrickfergus Academy are located at North Road, Carrickfergus. Photo by GoogleCarrickfergus Grammar and Carrickfergus Academy are located at North Road, Carrickfergus. Photo by Google
Carrickfergus Grammar and Carrickfergus Academy are located at North Road, Carrickfergus. Photo by Google

“It give us a total of 3,500 pupils. Most come in by taxis or cars. The place is gridlocked from 8.30 until 9.30. People are prisoners in their own homes. People either get out before 8.30 or wait until after 9.30. As well as that we have a graveyard. When schools get out and there is a big funeral, nothing moves.

“I would ask for a strategy for the area going forward. I do not see a strategy in this, just putting yellow lines down. It will just make people pick up kids further back. It does not restrict cars in the area. It does not encourage schools to open gates and let parents drive in and out. All it is doing is making the traffic worse.”

Ald Ashe noted that there are already double yellow lines in the area as well as no left turn and no right turn signs, speed ramps and a 20-mile per hour speed restriction.

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“All these things are just add-ons. I would like to see from Roads Service an overall strategy that helps alleviate this. The amount of people moving out of the area because of this congestion is unbelievable. It is blighting the area.”

General view of  Linn Road, Larne. Photo by GoogleGeneral view of  Linn Road, Larne. Photo by Google
General view of Linn Road, Larne. Photo by Google

Bannside Ulster Unionist Councillor Jackson Minford said: “I welcome these measures that DfI is putting in. You can look at them as restrictions but these are actually safety measures. Roads Service has to put them in legislation so they can be enforced.”

He went on to say parents need to get the message the restrictions are for the safety of their children and pupils should be “cycling and walking more to school”.

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Committee chair Braid DUP Ald Beth Adger MBE recalled that as a foster carer, she had a minibus to drop off 11 children at six schools.

Barry Corr, principal of Seaview Integrated Primary School, in Glenarm, said parents “would normally keep away from the restricted area”.

Philip Thompson, the council’s operations director, said he would refer the members’ comments to the DfI. He also suggested the issue could be raised with DfI officials when they address the committee later this year.

The proposed legislation will relate to: Carrickfergus Grammar; Carrickfergus Academy; Greenisland Primary; Woodlawn Primary; Woodburn Primary; Victoria Primary and Oakfield Primary Schools in Carrickfergus; Seaview Primary, Glenarm; St John’s Primary, Carnlough; Larne Grammar; Larne High; Larne Nursery and St Anthony’s Nursery Schools in Larne; St Mary’s Primary School, Portglenone; Portglenone Primary School and St Paul’s Primary School, Ahoghill.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter