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PUPILS IN DANGER: Parking crackdown called for at Lyme Regis school
POLICE are calling for parents who park dangerously and illegally at the Woodroffe School to be handed hefty fines and penalty points.
Lyme Regis Police have been inundated with complaints about the traffic chaos outside the school constantly putting pupils in danger.
Worried parents, school staff, bus drivers, passing drivers and even the pupils have shared their concerns with police.
Parents are waiting for long periods of time on double yellow lines to collect their children at the end of the day and dropping them off in the morning on the zig-zag lines or while waiting at the zebra crossing.
Officers have tried advising the offending parents but warned more extreme measures might be enforced.
PCSO John Burton said: “Since the complaints we have patrolled outside the school and advised drivers parking on the double yellow lines to think about where they are parking and the dangers it presents to other people’s children.
“We have warned drivers that if they persist in parking in this way that further robust action will be deemed necessary. To this end I have emailed a request to Dorset County Council Parking Services that they deploy their civil enforcement officers (CEO) in the area at the end of the school day.
“Parking can be an emotive subject and is also a fairly complex one now the police are in the main no longer the sole enforcing authority.”
The council’s CEOs are responsible for enforcing restrictions on double yellow lines and drivers waiting on them can be given a £70 fine. The police are responsible for the white zig zags at pedestrian crossings and parking on these will land drivers with a fine of £60 and three points on their driving licence. In January, PC Richard Winward warned a child would get hurt unless something was done to stop the traffic chaos.
Police and councillors have met at the school to observe the problem, but PCSO Burton said visits with town councillors and Dorset County Council officials have not led to any obvious improvements.
Town councillors said although they support the police and PCSOs, the authority is limited in what it can do.
Coun Anita Williams, chairman of the town council’s planning and highways committee, said: “We are concerned about the road safety, the safety of the children and other road users and personally I find it frustrating that it is the parents that are causing the danger.
“These parents are putting their own and other people’s children at risk.
“Nobody wants to see the radical solution of banning parking there but if the parents are unable to make it work, then that is something that would need to be explored.”
Planning and highways vice chairman Coun Chris Clipson said: “The buses are held up by parents hanging around waiting for their kids but I don’t know what the solution is because there is nowhere for the parents to park.
“I think the governors and headmaster of Woodroffe need to sit down with other parties and try and sort out what they could do themselves.”
Mum of two: ‘It’s mayhem’
PARENTS say they have no choice but to drive their children to school.
Celina Roy drives her children Callum and Ellen to school because they live in Tatworth.
Following county council cutbacks, the siblings lost their spaces on the bus and have no other way of getting there.
Mrs Roy said: “I couldn’t get my children on the bus, along with a lot of other parents, because of the council cutbacks.
“I have no alternative but to take them to school. I think that’s made the situation worse – it’s mayhem. The council has created more of a problem by taking the buses away.”
Mrs Roy leaves home early to pick them up to make sure she gets a space off the main road.
“I always leave early because I can’t park otherwise and I park up Woodroffe Meadow,” she said.
“I do park safely and I tell my children to walk down the hill if they can’t see me.
“But you do get a lot of parents blocking the dropped pavements where the children should be able to cross so they have to walk into the road.
“I don’t like to park on the other side of the road because it worries me that the children have to cross the road.
“As to what can be done about the problems, I honestly have no idea.”
- DORSET County Council said double yellow lines and parking restrictions would only make the problem worse.
The authority said it has been in discussions with the school about the issues surrounding parking.
A spokesman said: “There is limited space on the highway for parents parking to drop off or collect their children, and this is an ongoing problem.
“There are no solutions that we can offer in the way of double yellow lines or parking restrictions as this would make the situation more difficult, rather than improving it.
“There is designated parking at the school for coaches and that space needs to remain specifically for the coaches to ensure the safety of school pupils.
“We are continuing discussions with the school and with parents, and are looking for possible solutions together and hope to find ways to improve the situation in time.”