CALLS for a 20mph safety zone taking in all the schools and college in the Gargrave Road area of Skipton have been given the support of headteachers and town councillors.

Resident Tom Gunkel, who has young children, decided to do what he could to try and improve road safety in the town after witnessing a fatal accident on Belmont Bridge, earlier this year.

He said he was then taken aback to discover that in the last five years, a total of 37 pedestrians had been in collision with cars in the town.

"North Yorkshire Council are currently accepting applications for 20mph limits, and I thought this would be a way to help keep the town's children safe," he said.

His application for a Skipton Safer Schools Zone was submitted to North Yorkshire Council by ward councillor David Noland, and has been supported by all six schools in the area. It was also unanimously supported by Skipton Town Council's Audit, Scrutiny and Planning Committee at a meeting earlier this month (November).

In his application for a safer schools zone, Mr Gunkel says there are around 3,700 children and young people who attend the schools in the area in and close to Gargrave Road - Ermysted's Grammar School, Skipton Girls High School, Skipton Academy, Water Street Primary, Craven College and St Stephen's Primary.

Walking to school is the main way the students get to their schools, and should be encouraged, he says.

Mr Gunkel highlights issues with narrow pavements, or no pavements at all, a lack of crossings, and children having to walk into the road, facing oncoming traffic.

"At 20 mph, there is more time for cars to see pedestrians than at 30mph and they can stop sooner. If a person is hit, they are significantly less likely to die than at higher speeds."

Richard McManus, Principal Skipton Academy said: “I am happy to add my support to the initiative to reduce the speed limit on Gargrave Road. Anything which creates a safer environment for pupils at all schools in Skipton and potentially saves lives is a fantastic idea”.

North Yorkshire Council’s corporate director of environment, Karl Battersby, said: “We can confirm we have received a request to reduce the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph in the Gargrave Road area of Skipton.

“In the first instance and with accordance to council policy, we will be working towards carrying out the required investigation assessments including speed surveys in various locations before any further decisions are made.”