Hastings councillors calling for clampdown on '˜dangerous and inconsiderate' parking outside schools

A councillor has accused county council bosses of '˜putting profit before children's safety'.

Tuesday, 8th November 2016, 1:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:08 pm
Pupils outside ARK Blacklands Primary Academy with Cllr Andy Batsford

Cllr Batsford, who represents St Helen’s ward, asked East Sussex County Council to place traffic enforcement officers outside all primary schools in the town in the mornings to clamp down on inconsiderate and dangerous parking.

He said: “Three month ago Labour county councillor Michael Wincott asked a question at full council on my behalf asking for this.

“The response has been an incredible no, no to changing the rotas to facilitate this and, more shockingly, that the county council’s officers gave one of the reasons as being there could be a drop in revenue as patrolling the schools was less profitable.

“The county council has shown a total disregard to the wishes of parents and children, who rightly see children’s safety as paramount over trying to make a few more pounds from parking tickets in the town centre.

“This is the wrong decision and one made for hideous financial reasons, rather than addressing this most important issue making the spaces around schools safe.

“Schools have tried newsletters and school councils have stood outside protesting. The only message some parent drivers will listen to is one of enforcement and this needs to happen.

“I’m calling for the county council to totally reconsider this poor response and provide the traffic enforcement residents and children demand. We can’t be told that profit comes before children’s safety.”

A recent full council meeting saw cross-party support for a motion proposed by Cllr Liam Atkins, urging the county council to do more to improve child safety around school time and tackle inconsiderate parking.

Cllr Atkins said: “This is a problem which needs to be addressed. As councillors we all know of least one school where this is a real and present danger. It’s frustrating for residents, often illegal, and dangerous for children walking into or from school.

“A long-term solution to this problem is needed before it becomes too late and a child is involved in a serious accident, with joined up thinking between the borough council and county council, a whole host of measures can be implemented to improve safety.

“Schools such as ARK Little Ridge in my ward already do lots to encourage parents to park responsibly, but more can be done across the town.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “Our civil enforcement officers (CEOs) do regularly patrol outside schools where restrictions are in place and so far this year have issued 88 penalty charge notices and moved on more than 700 motorists from outside schools.

“While the county council has the responsibility for enforcement of parking restrictions, it should not be forgotten that parking on school keep clear markings is both illegal and irresponsible.

“Parents who continue to flout the restrictions must take responsibility for their actions and not put the safety of others at risk put by parking inconsiderately.

“Civil enforcement officers play an important role across the whole town including ensuring bus lanes are kept clear and enforcing restrictions that provide a level of safety for all road users.

“We only have very limited resources and on an average day have around seven or eight CEOs on duty, at times staggered throughout the day to deal with the issues which arise at various times.

“Focusing our efforts solely on schools would result in resources being diverted away from other areas of the town.”

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