Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 09.42.35Four Chester-le-Street pupils have had their artwork turned into road signs as part of a Durham County Council scheme to implement 20mph speed limits outside schools.

Designs by Josh Rowe, Lauren Roberts and Faye Haynes from Cestria Primary School and Ethan Arkle from Park View Lower School were selected by members of the county council’s Slow to 20 for Safer Streets project team who had the tough job of selecting the winners from a host of quality entries.

John Reed, head of technical services at the county council, said: “The purpose of the Slow to 20 schemes is to reduce traffic speeds around the schools during drop off and pick up times, which will help to improve road safety for all road users as well as making walking, cycling and outdoor play more attractive. I would like to congratulate the winners on their designs for the new signage, which will go a long way to help enforce this important message.”

Three of the four winners visited Barnard Castle sign-makers William Smith to watch as the winning designs were turned into signs. The new signs will be erected on Mains Park Road in Chester le Street, one of the new 20 mph zones.

Martin Vickers, from William Smith, said: “Both pupils and teachers enjoyed exploring the manufacturing process and seeing how their original artworks were taken from design to finished sign. We were delighted that Durham County Council asked us to be a part of this project.”

The pupils were also presented with miniature versions of their sign as a keepsake.

Cestria headteacher Lorraine Gowland said: “The children have worked really hard to produce the signs. I’m sure they will really make passing drivers take note and hopefully slow down.”

The county council is meanwhile set to double the number of schools outside which20mph are introduced.

The council’s cabinet agreed in December 2014 to introduce 20mph limits outside 33schools over three years.

Members of the council’s 20mph Overview and Scrutiny Working Group have contributed towards the project, after being set up to help revise the authority’s policy on 20mph zones.

The project is funded by a Public Health grant of almost £1m.

Phase one involved 13 schools in the Chester-le-Street and Bishop Auckland areas and has been completed ahead of schedule and under budget due to use of smaller, less expensive signs.

Cabinet is now being recommended to agree to use the money saved to introduce 20mph limits at an estimated further 33 schools, at its meeting on 11 May.

The initial 33 signs are now scheduled to be in place a year early with the additional estimated 33 proposed to be added the following two years.

Cllr Brian Stephens, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “The scheme to bring in 20mph limits outside schools was introduced to keep our children safe.

“The efforts of both officers and councillors to date have seen results which have far exceeded the original objectives of the project and this is something in which we can all be very proud.”

Cllr David Boyes, chairman of the 20mph Overview and Scrutiny Working Group, added:

“It was a privilege for myself and the other members of the working group to be involved in such an important project.

“We look forward to all the 20mph limits being rolled out in the interests of road safety.”

For more information about Durham County Council’s Slow to 20 for safer streets campaign visit www.durham.gov.uk/slowto20