4:20am Thursday 1st May 2014
By Annie Riddle
TWO roads in Harnham could be closed to non residents on weekdays because parents are causing chaos on the school run.
People trying to get to the popular infant and junior schools are parking on pavements and yellow lines in Hollows Close and stopping householders getting out.
And they are spilling over into neighbouring Folkestone Road.
“It’s like the Wild West in Hollows Close at dropping-off time,” said city councillor Ian Tomes, a junior school parent.
“It’s quite dangerous. You have to walk in the road because the pavements are completely blocked. People can’t get out of their drives,”
said ward councillor Brian Dalton, who was called in by residents to help them campaign for a permit-only zone.
“People park on the yellow lines at the top of the close and some have been quite rude, refusing to move. Cars have been damaged, too.”
Hollows Close resident Tim Bilton said: “I live on the bend opposite the school and we have had a brick wall and a fence knocked down and our garage door has been knocked off its rollers twice.
“These people park on your drive or across your drive.
They have no regard for the Highway Code. If you ask them to move you get abuse.
“On the yellow lines it’s chock-a-block every day.
“These cars have to turn round because we’re a no through road, and I’m worried about the safety of parents and children who do walk. We’ve had a couple of near misses in the last few months.”
But there are fears that a clampdown will only move the problem elsewhere.
Saxon Road, running up to the schools’ site, already has similar restrictions in place, and there is an ongoing public consultation about yellow lines in Parsonage Green because buses cannot get through.
Cllr Tomes said: “People are like water, really, they’ll flow to the next easy spot.”
The schools do have a green travel plan and parents are encouraged to walk or cycle, and to use Old Blandford Road for parking.
But Cllr Tomes said that many would not walk that far, especially if they need to go on to work or if it was raining.
The schools’ headteachers, Luke Coles and Suzanne Clarke, said: “We have been working for a while with our neighbours in our joint travel group.
“We encourage parents to park in specific areas so children can walk with them to school, and have issued maps of suggested safe routes.
“We have been very successful in raising the number who walk or cycle. But there will be some for whom this is not an option and it would be quite useful to have a discussion about what arrangements could be put in place for them. We accept that you do risk moving the problem to the next road.
“While we understand the frustrations of our neighbours, this is an issue for all schools.”
Wiltshire Council said public feedback would be carefully considered and decisions would rest with deputy leader John Thomson.
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