Public to get chance to comment on South Park road improvements

Peak hour traffic remains a serious concern at South Park School despite numerous efforts over recent years to tackle the problem
Peak hour traffic remains a serious concern at South Park School despite numerous efforts over recent years to tackle the problem

A council officer has described the daily drop-off and collection of children at a Fraserburgh school as a “melee”.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Strategy Team Leader Chris Menzies made the claim during debate on proposed road safety improvements at South Park School.

He told members of the council’s Banff and Buchan Area Committee that peak hour traffic remains a serious concern despite numerous efforts over recent years to tackle the problem.

Concerns were raised back in 2016 that there were no formal crossings, limited visibility and safety fears along the school’s frontage within the section of Philorth Avenue between its junctions with Mormond Avenue and Provost Milne Drive.

Councillors heard that the row of nearby shops and very limited parking exacerbated the problems.

But Mr Menzies admitted that traffic at schools was a Shire-wide issue and that there was a pressing need for a “shift in behaviour” if the problem was to be appropriately dealt with.

Councillor Brian Topping said Police Scotland’s recent Operation Cedar focusing on the town’s schools had resulted in 60 offending motorists being fined.

But Cllr Topping, chair of the Banff and Buchan Safety Group, also questioned if, at a time when money was tight for the authority, was there a need for expensive imnprovements or, more importantly, a need for parents and grandparents to clean up their act when delivering children to and from school.

Councillors were told by Mr Menzies, however, that officers had used “everything in their armoury” to tackle the issue and that the proposed improvements were currently the best solution.

It was agreed that the proposals be put out to public consultation to engage the community on plans which include two narrowed, identifiable crossing points on Philorth Avenue, realigned traffic flow and a tightening of the no-parking and traffic-calming measures at surrounding junctions.

Councillor Dorothy Mair, who once lived in the area, said: “This is the only option after much consultation. People’s safety must be the first priority.”

Councillor Hamish Partridge also asked for the consultation to consider the removal of the grassed area opposite the school and the creation of a car-park.