Sunday, 20 August 2017

Residents urge schools to stop parents blocking road

RESIDENTS of a Henley street have launched a campaign to stop school-run parents parking illegally.

RESIDENTS of a Henley street have launched a campaign to stop school-run parents parking illegally.

They say that cars are often “dumped” in Damer Gardens by parents of children at St Mary’s School in St Andrew’s Road and Trinity Primary School in Vicarage Road.

Resident Toni Aitken said the problem was long- standing but had become worse as the schools grew.

“Parents just park their cars anywhere — on footpaths and at the entrance to Damer Gardens,” she said.

“Sadly, some of these parents live in Berkshire Road and other places nearby. What’s wrong with walking your children to school? I used to walk two-and-a-half miles to school.

“The trouble is that today’s children are utterly spoilt. I have seen cars literally dumped because the parents panic when it is coming up to 9am and they just park anywhere.

“It is very inviting to people when there’s nowhere else to park and they pull on to the kerb.”

Mrs Aitken, a former Sue Ryder women of achievement award winner, has asked Henley Town Council’s traffic advisory committee to support the introduction of double yellow lines.

“It is important that the entrance is free of parked cars at all times,” she said. “Our residents cannot get in or out and the emergency services would have a job.

“I am concerned that if there was an accident or we had an emergency that the emergency services wouldn’t be able to get through. I am determined that this problem is going to stop.”

Neighbour David Adamson said: “If the parents were able to walk their children to school rather than use their cars and if residents could use their driveways as opposed to parking in the street that would be a really big help and I do not think that is unreasonable.

“There has already been one accident and we are worried that there will be more.

“I think yellow lines would help but it is not the full answer because I think people will still take their chances. St Mary’s could be proactively looking at solutions. For example, has anybody contacted the [Sacred Heart] church to see about parking there?”

Caroline Adamson said: “What normally happens is that 4x4s park all the way up and down the hill and you actually can’t get into Damer Gardens because both sides are completely obstructed. It is really infuriating.

“People also do three-point turns at the junction so they do not have to go right the way round.

“You expect to get a lot of traffic with schools nearby but what incenses me is the fact that they are parking on the corners of each side and on the pavement.”

Rob Harmer, headteacher at St Mary’s School, said: “There are a few drivers who are parking without consideration for the sight lines.

“As soon as we heard about it from the residents, we informed our parents to ensure that they are considerate. We have also been in contact with Henley Town Council and the police.

“I totally sympathise and empathise with the residents and we want to make sure that this is sorted out so it does not become a problem.”

Roger Grant, headteacher of Trinity School, said: “I will write to parents in our weekly bulletin to ask them to exercise common sense and abide by the rules and laws of the road.

“It will improve and change for a little while then people slip back into bad habits. It just needs one person to do it then others copy.”

Town and county councillor David Nimmo Smith said: “The important thing is to maintain access at all times for service and emergency vehicles, which will also maintain access for cars.

“This includes being sensible when parking at/close to corners to ensure that there are adequate visibility splays maintained. The headteacher of St Mary’s will again remind car drivers to park sensibly and be aware of the needs and requirements of the residents.

“Parents who can walk their children to the schools should continue to be encouraged to do so, although we recognise that some parents drop off and pick up when going to or returning from work.”

He said introducing parking restrictions was a “longer- term solution” and would be considered by Oxfordshire County Council officers.

Laila Meachin, who chairs the traffic advisory committee, said an Oxfordshire County Council officer had been to assess the area and would report back.

Insp Mark Harling, head of Henley police, said he would ask police community support officers to patrol the area at school drop-off and picking up times.

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