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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Campaign to stop dangerous parking at Carlisle school gates

Parents are putting children’s lives at risk by trying to park as close to a Carlisle school as possible with “total disregard” for safety.

Scotby school parking
Chloe Tsakonas with son Lewis Robinson outside the school

Now police are urging those who do park safely to report parents who don’t – even asking them to take photos of illegal parking on their phones.

PC Lindsy Taggart, the Caldew community officer, based at Brampton, said she was “quite honestly shocked”.

“Over the past few months I have observed the parking issues around Scotby School, both being highly visible in a marked police van and covertly,” she said. “[Some parents] show a total disregard for the safety of their children.

“Although yellow lines may be an inconvenience, they are there for a reason – your child’s safety. It is not my aim to persecute motorists; I am, however, into reducing serious and fatal road traffic collisions and trying to educate road users.

“If this results in prosecutions being made because good advice is ignored, so be it.”

In a letter in the school magazine, she said her words were not aimed at the responsible parents who “take their children’s welfare seriously”.

She asked those parents to contact her confidentially with information about repeat offenders, including registration numbers, times and even camera phone photos, although she urged them to avoid any direct confrontations.

For the past few days police have increased their presence at the school and said so far it has had a positive effect.

But parents collecting their children last night told the News & Star that parking is a long-term problem.

Chloe Tsakonas, of Hillcrest Avenue, Harraby, Carlisle, whose son Lewis Robinson, eight, attends Scotby School, said: “I think people need to be more aware of what’s going on around them and have a bit of consideration for others.”

Wendy Fell, who regularly picks up her granddaughter from school, added: “It’s a constant problem. It’s such a busy road. We always park further out and walk in.”

Tracey Fleming, who lives in the village, said as the school and pupil numbers have grown, parking has become more of a problem.

She added that residents can find their driveways blocked by parked cars, while some parents also stop on zig-zags.

Coach driver Tony Stewart said he often finds parents parking in the school bus bay. “It’s a real problem. We’ve had this contract for 10 years and it has always been a problem.”

In her letter to parents, PC Taggart added: “There is no necessity for your children to be dropped off within 10 feet of the school entrance.

“There is ample parking on the road just after the school. A trial run shows that it takes two minutes to walk from this side of school to the gates.

“As adults it is your responsibility to set a good example to your children.”

The Scotby warning comes just days after pupils at another Carlisle primary school launched their own action against dangerous parking.

Youngsters from Belle Vue School joined their police community support officer on patrol to highlight bad parking in the Green Lane and Beaver Road area.

It follows increasing tensions in the community – with reports of parents parking across residents’ driveways, on double yellow lines and on junctions – and concerns for the safety of children and other pedestrians.

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