Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford Free School 'drop-off' ban proposed

Parents would be barred from dropping their children off outside a new free school in Bedfordshire under a plan to cut congestion.

Proposals for Bedford Free School include restrictions that would require students to walk 330 metres (360 yards) from a nearby pay-and-display car park.

All parents would have to sign the agreement under the plan being debated by Bedford Borough Council on Monday.

Nearly 200 pupils aged 11 to 13 are due to start at the school on 6 September.

The "robust travel plan" put forward as part of the planning application would prevent staff parking or parent pick-up and drop-offs near the school.

Parental agreement

The "travel charter" for the school, proposed for a former Bedford College building, in Cauldwell Street, requires parents to stick to the agreed drop-off points and not use surrounding roads.

At a planning committee meeting in June, councillors decided that letting it open opposite the town's college would cause too much disruption.

Now a second planning application has been put forward, including the plan to manage traffic around the site.

Principal designate Mark Lehain said he was "confident" the new application would be signed off because the school had worked "very, very closely" with the council's highways and planning experts on the submission.

"I think that any concerns that they may have had previously are totally gone now," he said.

"There is a contingency [plan] in place but we don't think it will be required."

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