Parents in Croydon are split over a new parking ban that prevents parents from dropping off or picking up children in cars at three primary schools.
The Croydon Council-run trial outside Woodcote Primary School in Coulsdon, Heavers Farm Primary School and St Chad’s RC Primary School in nearby Selhurst is to run for six months and has has already divided opinion.
Automatic registration number plate cameras are used to scan vehicles if they enter the pedestrian zones between certain hours in the morning and afternoon when parents come to drop off and pick up their children. If motorist drive in these zones without a valid permit, they will be hit by a £130 fine, which can be reduced to £65 if paid within a fortnight.
The council cites “concerns about parking and pedestrian safety” for the reason behind the scheme. But the new rules have left parents divided over whether this is good for their children, or just an inconvenience for parents.
Maria Caria, 52, lives 15 minutes from Heavers Farm Primary where her daughter goes to school. The new scheme is proving difficult for parents like herself who don’t live walking distance away and who rely on being able to park their cars near the school. Caria said: “It’s really affected me because now you need to come early and start looking for where you can leave the car. I have to park far away and then walk, what is the the point?”
“Some people have been parking badly and some haven’t, but are all victims of this now.”
“It is good for the safety of the children, that’s the number one priority. They can come and go from the school with ease now as there aren’t any cars blocking them. But they need to think about the parents as well. Not everyone lives close to here.”
Caria thinks the council should go back and consider the decision again. She said: “When the decision was first announced my husband suggested that we move our children to a different school, but we are comfortable with this school so we don’t want to have to move them.”
One parent, who asked to remain anonymous said the scheme had improved her and her children’s walk to school. She said: “In terms of safety it’s so much better for the children, I don’t have to worry about my kids getting hit [by cars] anymore.
“I understand there are some parents that have to travel far and there is now nowhere for them to park, but it was so chaotic here before and we had to always keep an extra eye out for cars reversing where the kids were.”
Becky Finch, 40, drives her children to St Chad’s RC primary school everyday, parks a few streets away and then walks her children to the school gates. Finch said: “I think the new scheme is great. Our children have to be safe and I think for a long time they haven’t been. We’ve never liked crossing here with all the cars, there were people trying to reverse and children crossing in between them, so I’m definitely in favour of it.
“I usually park on the main road and just walk road, it’s fine, no problem.”
Yvonne Chin, 45, a parent with children at St Chad’s RC primary school described the new parking scheme as, “An absolute rip off”. She said: “It’s fine for some of the parents that live on this street or close by, but for the rest of us it takes so much longer to get our kids to school now. It’s an inconvenience for the kids and it will make them late to school.”
Catrina Palmer, 28, said: “The main problem was that some parents used to speed down this road which was putting the kids in danger. There were so many arguments before about who was parking where and trying to move out of the way, but it’s just down to individual parents.
“If the parents didn’t speed and if everyone worked together instead then there wouldn’t have been a problem.”
Croydon council is asking for feedback during the trial and, if it proves successful, the scheme will become regular at these schools and could be trialled at others in the borough.