Parking and Vehicles on the School Grounds

Since Holy Trinity opened we have not been able to successfully address the parking and vehicle movements on the school site to ensure the safety of pupils. This has been raised in numerous communications including letters from the head, text messages, primary newsletters, whole school newsletters and even in the Barnsley Chronicle.

When Planning Permission was granted for the building of what became Holy Trinity there is a stipulation from the Planning Authority that there is to be no parking for parents on the school site. This is the same not just for the rest of the schools in Barnsley but where other new schools have been built around the country.  There was no parking incidentally on the school sites for parents at Holy Cross, St Dominic’s or St Michael’s and only on street parking.  Representatives from the 3 existing schools raised at the time the existing problems of the on street parking and were told categorically that this isn’t the school’s problem and it is for the highways department to address.  We asked could we introduce a car park for parents on the grounds and were told that even if the schools could provide the money (and we were told this would be around £1.25M) it would not be given planning permission.

The funding for the new school provided a formula for car parking spaces for staff (but not at the ratio of one space per member of staff) and for 16 visitor spaces – including 8 spaces for disabled users.  The visitor spaces were not for parents but for people required to visit the school for appointments with staff or for agencies involved in pupil well-being, or for peripatetic music teachers among others.  A drop off zone of 7 car spaces was a requirement of the planners and so was provided – including 2 disabled drop-off spaces where the kerbs are dropped for wheelchair users.

Shortly after opening the school became full of cars which were parking on the access roads, on pavements, in front of the substation and the marked pedestrian crossing.  There were also travelling far too fast with so many children around. As a result the safety of pupils was identified as clearly a risk and many discussions ensued with Highways Department, Police, Fire Department,  Local Councillors, Laing O Rourke (Constructor), JLIS (Facilities Management) and representatives of BMBC (including Architects, Planners, School Travel Planner Advisors, BSF team and the Health & Safety team). All of the above have a vested interest either in the safety of pupils, congestion of the streets, adherence with the planning conditions or the requirement for continuous access.

Measures undertaken over the last 15 months included the following:-

Highways department – remodelled the road entrance to the school (with a speed reducing raise cushion) and the service bus bay on Carlton Road,  sought permission for double yellow lines (with no “drop off” kerb markings) on Carlton Road, and some of the surrounding side roads.  Installed low level fencing on the grass areas of Carlton Road to prevent vehicles that do park on the grass exiting onto Carlton Road across the pavement endangering pedestrians.

Laing O Rourke – provided additional footpaths to allow pedestrians to exit the site safely without walking on the exit road.

JLIS – installed a further two sets of 5mph speed bumps to reduce the speed of vehicles on the site and put up more signs, subsequently painted double yellow lines on the access roads, zigzag markings around the pedestrian crossings, provided staff to patrol and talk to drivers about inappropriate parking.

School Travel Planning Team – provided traffic cones to try and alert people not to park on the access roads, and staff to talk to drivers about inappropriate parking

School – continual communication with parents about parking on site, inappropriate use of disabled spaces by non blue badge holders – staff talking to drivers (and suppliers) about inappropriate parking and providing a school crossing patrol to ensure children and adults can cross Carlton Road in safety.

After each measure was introduced there was slight improvement but these were short lived and drivers ignore the road markings, park on the crossings, pavements grass verges etc. When staff (either JLIS or school staff) have been out talking to drivers they have been on occasion subject to verbal abuse which is clearly not acceptable. Parents of pupils with physical disabilities have also received verbal abuse from people who shouldn’t be using the disabled bays when they have to block cars in to unload their children and/or wheelchairs.

As reported in the School Newsletter in October 24th 2013 the school announced the intention to reluctantly allow JLIS to  introduce contractors to manage the site.

Parking and the School Site

“Despite the best efforts of school and the facilities management team (JLIS) there continues to be problems with vehicles on the school site. Yellow lines are being ignored, cars have been driven onto grass verges and the dedicated parking spaces for Blue Badge Holders are being occupied by non badge displaying vehicles – seriously affecting our pupils who have mobility issues.  Staff have been subject to verbal abuse when talking to drivers about this and as a result JLIS will be introducing contractors to manage the vehicles on the school site. They are currently trying out a company on the Horizon site and expect to start at Holy Trinity before too long.  This is not a decision that has been made in haste but despite the substantial amount of communication over the last year our priority has to be to ensure the safety of our pupils on the school site.”

This was further reported on the front page of the School Newsletter before Christmas by the Headteacher

“I continue to receive many complaints about the parking situation in school. We are in a situation now where there are so many people ignoring our requests to park elsewhere that most afternoons our car park is full, there are cars parked throughout the bus bays and all over the double yellow lines as well as people who are not disabled parking in the disabled car park. This needs to change. We have had discussions with the company who look after our school buildings and site, and in the New Year a company called UK Parking will patrol our school regularly. They have the right to issue parking tickets to any car parked in the wrong area with unpaid fines pursued through the courts. Can I ask that all parents who drop off or pick up children in cars either do just that in the drop off zone or park away from the school and walk them in, just as happened when our school was three separate schools. Cars which ignore this request will receive parking fines from January.”

On the day we reopened we discovered that the contract with UK Parking and JLIS has stalled and was awaiting clearance by Carillion who have bought out JLIS (also mentioned in the December Newsletter).  Until this is in place JLIS/Carillion agreed to provide staff in the afternoon to control the parking and vehicles on the site. Their instructions are to allow blue badge holders on site at all times and legitimate school visitors (if there are spaces available),  and to allow parents on site from 3.10pm until the site is full and all parking spaces have been taken. If all the parking spaces have been taken they will hold vehicles from entering the site as they would inevitably end up inappropriately or dangerously parking. This is the same for the drop off bays – if they are full they will hold vehicles from entering the site until space becomes available. When the UK Parking contract begins they have the power to enforce any parking fines (£60) by means of photographic evidence as they are licensed to obtain vehicle owners addresses from the DVLA much the same as a parking ticket issued by a traffic warden or police officer.  If unpaid these are passed onto collection agencies.   Neither the school nor the Facilities Management Company will receive any income from parking fines and incidentally neither will be able to intervene regarding any fines issued – either to parents or staff!

None of these measures would be required if drivers adhere to the notices, road marking and planning conditions – which are all focused 100% on ensuring the safety of pupils on site. Since we opened one pupil has been struck by a car on site and there have been numerous near misses.

 

The JLIS/Carillion contact with responsibility for the management of the site is

 

Carillion PLC

Digital Media Centre,

County Way,

Barnsley,

S70 2JW