PARENTS are being urged to stop parking dangerously outside of Flintshire’s schools as the council and police continue to grapple with the problem.
A joint meeting of Flintshire Council’s education and environment scrutiny committees discussed the issue which councillors feel is now getting out of hand.
Council officers from the Streetscene and Highways departments explained that legally the police are responsible for dealing with motorists flouting restrictions and road markings, and that the authority does not have the resources to staff enforcement outside every school.
The council employs 10 enforcement officers, who are also required to clampdown on dog fouling and fly-tipping among other infractions but would require more than 50 officers to deal with school parking issues.
Council leader Flint Castle Cllr Ian Roberts (Lab) said lack of finances is a barrier to further measures being put in place and called on parents to be more responsible.
He said: “We haven’t got the capital to build car parks in schools and if we had the capital then could you imagine how much of the county’s green infrastructure would be under tarmac?
“It is parents by their actions who are causing this problem. I know I might make myself ‘Mr Unpopular’ by saying that but I genuinely believe that.
“I would appeal to parents, please consider is it necessary to park outside the school gates, to park on the pavement and so on – could you encourage your children to walk if at all possible?”
Hope Cllr Gladys Healey (Lab) felt the buck was being passed between the council and the police, and Buckley Pentrobin Cllr Mike Peers (Ind) felt appeals alone will not work if parents are determined to disregard rules.
He said: “There is a complete disregard of single, double yellow lines and in some cases zigzag lines.
“In the absence of any other solutions enforcement seems to be the only way. I recognise the appeal to parents not to do this, but it’s recognised people are not going to comply, they want to park by the school gates even though there are restrictions.”
Cllr Peers added that he felt not enough enforcement is taking place.
Buckley Mountain Cllr Carol Ellis (Non-aligned) detailed incidents caused by bad parking outside schools.
She said: “As a resident I see many near misses and I’m constantly contacting Streetscene officers for advice.
“Parents are parked on paths, junctions, on the roundabout, double-parked on the road, totally disregarding children’s safety.
“When residents point out it’s unsafe they receive abuse and threats.
“It is getting worse by the day. Parents are now arriving earlier to obtain a parking space in the afternoon.”
She added: “Sheltered accommodation is used by parents to park, in the past ambulances have not been able to enter the close.
“I’m dreading the worst case scenario. My neighbour once had to bang on the bonnet of a car to stop it reversing into a child.
“Another witnessed a child trying to cross the road and almost end up on the bonnet of a car as another vehicle blocked the junction.”
Buckley Bistre East Cllr Richard Jones (Ind) said some schools in locations such as cul-de-sacs are at a disadvantage.
He also said the council needs to ask parents why they drive their children to school – whether it is a fear of abduction and for safety, lack of public transport, or for time-saving reasons.
Shotton East and Higher Cllr Dave Evans (Lab) felt enforcement could be more proactive than reactive, and that more double-yellow lines would push the problems elsewhere in the vicinity.
Answering questions from councillors about technological solutions, Streetscene chief officer Katie Wilby said ANPR would not pick up whether someone has a blue badge in the window and there is a lack of funding available for CCTV.
Traffic regulations are not feasible at every school either, some being located on lanes for example.
Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin also attended the meeting and said he would take members’ comments on board.
A task and finish group has been set up to look at the problem and potential solutions in more detail.