The number of Waltham Forest roads temporarily closed to traffic during the school run will more than triple after schools reopen.

Waltham Forest Council is re-introducing its “School Streets” scheme, restoring the two schemes already set up, two that were postponed and adding five more as soon as possible.

The council recognises parents may be nervous about taking public transport in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic but hopes to encourage a “new normal” of walking and cycling.

Affected roads will be closed to non-residential traffic between 8.30-9.15am and 3-4pm in term time, which residents have previously warned could inconvenience the elderly and disabled.

Read more: Hoe Street parking suspended due to lockdown

Deputy leader Councillor Clyde Loakes said: “We are adamant that the pupils of Waltham Forest will be able to travel to and from school safely and are working hard to make sure this can happen from when schools begin to reopen.

“We have seen more and more people walking and cycling as they responded to the challenges of life during lockdown. We want to see that positive behaviour change carry through as the lockdown eases.

“Walking and cycling your children to their local school will help reduce congestion, improve your personal health and well-being and make it safer for the most vulnerable of road users.”

Prior to lockdown measures, George Mitchell Primary School in Leyton and a number of schools on Marsh Lane in Walthamstow had schemes in place.

Two schemes postponed by the lockdown - around Henry Maynard Primary School in Walthamstow and The Jenny Hammond Primary School in Leytonstone - will also be put in place.

Residents near Henry Maynard Primary School expressed concerns about the planned scheme in early March, arguing the elderly and disabled sometimes relied on cabs to get to hospital.

Read more: Residents object to planned 'School Streets' scheme

Tony Rath, of Brunswick Street, said he felt the council was assuming all residents were “youngish with cars”.

He said: “The council are imposing a very extreme set of restrictions, which means residents like me, who are non-drivers, are not permitted to have visitors by car in those hours.”

Residents are still free to drive on the affected roads and carers, emergency services, staff at the school or local businesses and blue badge holders will also be exempt.

The council stated its existing schemes produced an improvement in road safety and air quality, while reducing anti-social behaviour like inconsiderate parking.

Cllr Loakes said following “overwhelmingly positive consultations” in February and March, the scheme would be expanded to five more areas “as soon as we possibly can”.

These schemes would surround Davies Lane and George Tomlinson Primary Schools in Leytonstone and South Grove and Hillyfield in the Park and Hillyfield on the Hill Primary Schools in Walthamstow.

Cllr Loakes added: “We’ll also be supporting schools to introduce safe social distancing measures as families are completing their drop offs and pickups.”

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