Schoolchildren in Frome will soon find it much easier to walk and cycle to and from school as a new trial gets under way.

The Frome Safer School Streets project, which has been in the works since late-2021, is designed to provide safer walking and cycling route for pupils and parents to and from four primary schools in the western part of the town.

Numerous alterations to several streets are currently being undertaken ahead of an 18-month trial which begins after the Easter school holidays.

Once the trial is under way, a number of key routes near the schools will be closed off to traffic at pick-up and drop-off times – and traffic in the surrounding areas will be limited to 20mph.

Here’s everything you need to know

Why is this trial being undertaken – and who is paying for it?

A school street is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times.

By closing off these streets, a “safer, healthier and pleasant environment for everyone” is created, with less congestion, better air quality and pupils being encouraged to have a more healthy lifestyle.

The first Safer School Street zone was launched in Italy in 1989, with the first UK scheme in Edinburgh in 2005.

Frome is the first Somerset town where school streets are being trialled, with the funding coming from the Department for Transport (DfT) and being distributed through Sustrans, which is responsible for maintaining the UK’s national cycle network.

The funding covers the numerous road alterations which are currently being undertaken through the Easter holidays ahead of the trial formally beginning on Monday, April 15.

Much of the area covered by the changes forms part of national cycle network route 24, which connects the town to Bath, Midsomer Norton, Radstock and Longleat.

What changes are being implemented?

The Frome Safer School Streets scheme comprises three distinct elements:

  • Closing individual streets at pick-up and drop-off times
  • Improving existing roads, including installing new crossings, seating and traffic calming measures
  • Extending a 20mph speed limit across the western side of Frome

The changes will be implemented to benefit the pupils of four different schools:

  • Avanti Park School on Park Road
  • Critchill School on Nunney Road
  • Oakfield Academy on Oakfield Road
  • Trinity Church of England First School on Nunney Road

What roadworks are planned for the rest of the Easter holidays?

To allow the different highway improvements to be completed before the summer term begins, a number of different sets of roadworks will be in effect in western Frome over the next week and a half.

Here’s a rundown of planned closures within the area:

  • April 2-3, 8:30am-4:30pm: the junction of Nunney Road and Oakfield Road
  • April 2-4, 8:30am-4:30pm: Oakfield Road between Broadway and Nunney Road
  • April 3-4, 8:30am-4:30pm: three-way traffic lights at the junction of Park Road with the A362 Christchurch Street West
  • April 5, 8 & 9, 8:30am-4:30pm: Critchill Hill and Nunney Road closed up to Oakfield Road
  • April 8, 8:30am-4:30pm:  Somerset Road between Weymouth Road and Whitewell Road, including the Weymouth Road staggered junction
  • April 10, 8:30am-4:30pm: Park Road closed to all traffic

Which roads will be closed?

Once the trial officially begins, the following roads will be closed on weekdays during term time:

  • Critchill will be closed between Oakhill Road and Whitemill Lane between 8:10am and 9am and between 2:45pm and 3:30pm
  • Oakhill Road will be closed between Broadway and the crossroads with Nunney Road between 8:10am and 9am and between 2:45pm and 3:30pm
  • Park Road will be completely closed between 8:25am and 8:55am and between 3pm and 3:30pm
  • Whitemill Lane will be completely closed between 8:10am and 9am and between 2:45pm and 3:30pm

While these roads will be closed to normal traffic, a number of exemptions will be in operation.

The following groups will still be able to drive on these streets during the closures:

  • Blue badge holders
  • Parents and guardians of pupils with education, health and care plans
  • School staff
  • Residents of properties within the restricted zones
  • Healthcare workers
  • Users of Harry’s Hydrotherapy Pool (near Critchill School)
  • School transport and public transport (with diversions being in place during closure times for the D2 and D2X services)
  • Emergency services
  • Postal services
  • Utilities
  • Highway maintenance
  • Street cleansing and waste collection.

What about the 20mph speed limits?

A 20mph speed limit is currently in force on Critch Hill and Nunney Road (nearest the two schools), and on Oakhill Road between Broadway and Nunney Road.

From April 15, this will be extended to the following streets:

  • Barn Close
  • Beverley Close
  • Catherson Close
  • Critchill Close
  • Critchill Road
  • Delmore Road
  • Dommetts Lane
  • Eastwood Close
  • Ecos Court
  • Firwood Road
  • Green Lane
  • Lynfield Road
  • Nunney Barton
  • Nunney Road
  • Portland Place
  • Portland Road
  • Queens Road
  • Somerset Road
  • Stourton Close
  • Stourton View
  • Warleigh Close
  • Westfield Road
  • Westover
  • Westwood Drive
  • Weymouth Road
  • Whitewell Place
  • Whitewell Road
  • Yeomans Lodge

How have the schools reacted to this?

The head teachers of the four schools involved in the trial have all welcomed the changes – and have promised that the concerns of parents, pupils and other relevant parties would be taken on board as the trial progresses.

Avanti Park headteacher Abby Atkins said: “We look forward to seeing improved road safety and opportunities for pupils to travel actively and safely to school as a result of the trial.

“Our position next to a well-used play park, and on a cul-de-sac, means that traffic volume and turning vehicles pose a significant danger, as well as making it less safe for pupils to arrive at school on foot, or on wheels.

“We know that people’s needs and challenges vary, but we hope our school community will respond positively and give the 18-month Safer School Streets trial the best possible chance of success.”

Emma Wilkes, headteacher at Oakfield Academy, said: “The issue of road safety around the academy is evident to anyone who is in the area at drop-off and pick-up times.

“We acknowledge and share the concerns of some parents and residents about how the Safer School Streets trial will impact them, and will feed back our thoughts to Sustrans, Frome Town Council and Somerset Council as the trial progresses. We encourage parents and residents to do the same.

“We’re hopeful that the scheme will have a positive impact on safety and we look forward in particular to seeing the amazing planters our Year 5 pupils are helping to create with the Bee Friendly Trust.

“They will go into position on Oakfield Road: a traffic calming measure that will also look lovely and support wildlife.”

Trinity Church of England First School headteacher Amanda Seager said: “We hope the scheme is successful and we’ll be delighted if it means children can come to and from school actively and safely, and also that the air around our schools is cleaner.

“However, it will make dropping off and picking up from school more challenging for some families, who have valid reasons for needing to drive.

“There are nearly a thousand children at the three schools in this part of Frome (Trinity, Critchill and Oakfield) and if the scheme improves their experience, that’s a huge positive.

“We hope the trial period will enable Sustrans, Somerset Council and Frome Town Council to work together with parents, carers and local residents to ensure a way forward that is positive for all.”

Headteacher at Critchill School Emma West added: “We have a considerable number of young people who need to travel by car or bus to school; however we also have young people and families that walk into school.

“I feel, like my colleagues, that working towards improving road safety for young people is paramount. We share the concerns of some of our parents about the impact.

“It’s important to note that schools and school staff are taking part in the trial, along with everyone else.

“We welcome the ongoing consultation and evaluation that comes with Safer School Streets to determine its success and long-term future.”

How can I have my say – and what happens after the 18-month trial finishes?

While the trial is ongoing, residents will have opportunities to give their feedback through surveys (both physical and online) nd public meetings, which will be organised by the town council.

in the summer and autumn of 2025, the trial will be formally reviewed, with the town council deciding whether the changes will be made permanent.

A spokesman said: “We will review the trial and decide, with the community, whether the Safer School Street zone should be a permanent fixture.

“It is key that residents engage with the plans and share their local knowledge and feedback to deliver safer streets for our whole community.”

For more information, including how to have your say, visit