School parking chaos "an accident waiting to happen"
PUBLISHED: 13:29 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:05 24 January 2019
Parents and residents concerned about long-standing parking problems outside Sheringham Primary School are urging North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) to take action on the issue, which they say is "an accident waiting to happen".
In spite of police patrols, and school initiatives including letters and leaflets sent to parents and a poster campaign featuring photographs of children lying in the road, cars continue to cause havoc at dropping-off and picking-up time.
As well as parking illegally across dropped kerbs and on the zig zag lines outside the Cooper Road school, cars are parked on pavements, in front of residents’ driveways and on the grass verges in front of nearby houses, creating a “mud bath”.
A Facebook post calling for action on the issue attracted more than 200 comments, with one resident claiming she had been subjected to verbal abuse and dreaded leaving her house during the school run and others saying people with pushchairs and young children had been forced to step into the road to get past cars parked on pavements.
County councillor for Sheringham division Judy Oliver, who met with residents and district councillors six weeks ago to discuss the issue, said the NNDC overview and scrutiny committee had voted to set up a ‘task and finish’ group.
“I am very anxious that residents’ voices be heard and for them to be involved in looking for a solution, as they are living with this every day,” she said. “My feeling is that there will need to be a package of measures that can be incorporated into the school’s travel plan, rather than one ‘magic bullet’.”
Suggested solutions to the problem have included installing bollards, creating a safe drop-off point, setting up ‘walking bus’ schemes and turning part of a neighbouring playground into a car park or turning area.
Sheringham Primary head teacher Rachael Carter, who met with local police, county council highways officials and district council leader Sarah Butikofer last week, said the 600-pupil school, which was built to accommodate less than 400 children, had tried a number of strategies to tackle the parking issue, to little effect.
“It is a long-standing problem and it would be great if we could encourage parents to park a little bit further away,” she added. “But because we have so many children and the school is in a cul-de-sac, finding a solution is very tricky and our priority must always be the safety of the children.”