School parking ban

A CAMPAIGN group for motorists has hit out at an “unworkable and nonsensical” plan by a county council to ban parents from parking near their children's schools at the beginning and end of the school day.

By Annie Davidson

A CAMPAIGN group for motorists has hit out at an “unworkable and nonsensical” plan by a county council to ban parents from parking near their children's schools at the beginning and end of the school day.

Essex County Council has supported plans for a half-mile exclusion zone around some schools in the county in a bid to ease congestion and encourage parents to walk their youngsters to school.

Rodney Bass, cabinet member for Highways and Transportation, said: “We will originate, in appropriate locations and where congestion is occurring, proposals for a ban on parking at key times within half a mile of the school concerned.

“These proposals will be determined by the district/borough council concerned, with which we will maintain close liaison.

“It is also part of our war on congestion to encourage the schools themselves to adopt travel plans both for their staff and by encouraging parents to avoid using private cars to transport their children to and from school.”

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Nigel Humphries, spokesman for the Association of British Drivers, which campaigns for motorists to be treated fairly and equally, said the plan was “completely stupid.”

He said: “I think it's awful. People should be able to bring their children to school however they like.

“Obviously some people do make unnecessary short journeys but many are dropping their children off on their way somewhere.

“A mother perhaps has to be at work at 9am and hasn't got time to walk two miles to school then walk back to get in their car to go to work.

“The days are gone when the mother stayed at home and walked down to meet her children at the school gates at 3pm.

“Instead of trying to bully people they have got to think about what people's real needs are. Has the council done a survey and asked people why they drive their children to school?

“They may find most of them have got a very good reason. It is unworkable and nonsensical.”

Mr Humphries added that many children no longer attended the school nearest to them and could be at a school several miles from their home.

Sue Worthington, headteacher at 206-pupil All Saints' Primary School, Dovercourt, said: “This week I've had one parent come to me expressing concerns about parking because we're on a main road.

“It's a cause for concern. There are yellow lines on the road outside the school and it does get extremely busy in the mornings. I just hope that parents will park safely.

“Part of the problem is that parents lead very busy lives and dropping off children is part of what they've got to do, so they park as close as they can. That causes problems.”

She said she would need to look more closely at any county council proposals before giving her views.

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