Wed, 21 Dec 2016
PARENTS have been urged to walk their children to school after angry neighbours of John Rankin Infant and Junior Schools in Newbury have complained that their streets are becoming clogged with cars.
West Berkshire councillor Adrian Edwards made the plea after being contacted by residents, who claim the influx of cars at pick-up and drop-off times in and around Garford Crescent is causing severe traffic delays, as well as dangerous road conditions for youngsters.
Lorraine Cladingboel, who lives in Elizabeth Avenue, said: “At pick-up times people are getting there from 2.45pm to get their spot.
“That’s when you get parking on the footway and in front of driveways and bus stops.
“People are even going up on to the footpath which is used by schoolchildren.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen.”
Mrs Cladingboel says it takes her around 20 minutes on some mornings to travel from her house at the top of Elizabeth Avenue past Garford Crescent, where the school is located.
“There are just no controls,” she said.
“I don’t know what the answer is but something has to be done.”
West Berkshire councillor Adrian Edwards (Con, Falkland) said civil enforcement officers are unable to patrol the area more than once a month due to workload, but argued that the issue was down to parents needlessly using their cars on the school run.
He said: “It’s got to the point where residents are getting fed up with it.
“They’re parking in driveways, parking on grass verges – it’s just not on.
“When you think the majority of parents don’t live more than a mile from the school, you would have thought they would walk their children to school.”
He added: “I understand those who drop their children off and then drive to work but there are others who drive there and drive straight back home.”
Asked if cuts to council funding have prevented West Berkshire Council from dealing with the situation adequately, he said: “It has nothing to do with that really, people just tend to use their cars rather than walk or take the bus.
“The trouble is parents fail to realise that if they park badly they are putting their own children at risk.”
Executive headteacher Felix Rayner said the school was aware of the issue and was actively working to tackle the problem.
He said: “We are actively involved in West Berkshire Council’s Go Kinetic walk to school scheme, and have just got new A-frame boards which will be put out telling parents that parking there could endanger a child’s life.
“It must be very frustrating for residents but hopefully what we are doing can ease the situation.”