The headteacher of a village primary school says she would have liked to have “had a conversation” with the highways bosses who are planning to paint double yellow lines on the road where many of her pupils are currently dropped off and picked up.
Restrictions are set to be introduced in the vicinity of Rivington Foundation Primary School in Chorley because of concerns about parking on dangerous bends on the narrow country lane where the school is located.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet approved the measures on Horrobin Lane and Sheep House Lane, in spite of receiving a petition with dozens of signatures objecting to the move.
Member for highways, Keith Iddon, said that the area was “fraught with blind bends” and that he had a duty to keep people safe.
“If that means people have to walk a little bit further, they have to walk a little bit further. The last thing I want is to be [on the radio] being asked why I had allowed a child to be killed when I could have brought in a traffic regulation order,” County Coun Iddon said.
But headteacher Sarah Annette said that the narrowness of the footpaths along which children and parents will have to walk is a risk in itself.
“I’m supportive of anything which improves safety for the children, but we have lots of pupils who are picked up by grandparents or parents with prams and some of them already have to walk quite a distance to where they have parked – I dread to think how far away they will have to park now.
“I don't disagree with all of the proposals - the bottom of Sheep House Lane probably isn't an ideal place to park. But if I could have sat down with officers designing the scheme, then maybe they could have pointed out things which I cannot appreciate – however, we only found out about the plans because a sign was pinned to a lamppost outside.
“The parking at the moment actually serves to slow down traffic passing by, which can go far too fast when the way is clear,” Mrs Annette added.
Papers presented to the cabinet meeting revealed that the current pattern of parking meant some vehicles were in breach of the highway code for leaving vehicles in a dangerous position or on a bend.
Members heard that County Coun Iddon is “in discussions” with United Utilities about whether charges can be waived for use of a car park at a nearby reservoir – for both parents and those attending a chapel in the same area.
Kim Snape, the Labour county councillor for the area, said she would be “calling in” the decision – meaning a council committee could force a rethink.
“Nobody denies that there is an issue with parking around the primary school, but these proposals are absolutely crazy and have gone way too far. They will create more accidents for schoolchildren and mums and dads with prams having to walk right down Horrobin Lane,” County Coun Snape said.
The county council said that it was unable to introduce restrictions which did not apply at school drop-off and pick-up times – because such a move would suggest that “regulations directed at maintaining safety for all road users are dependent on the accessibility requirements of particular establishments”.
ELSEWHERE IN CHORLEY...
A plan to introduce parking restrictions close to Clayton-le-Woods Church of England Primary School has been deferred while negotiations continue about whether parents can use two nearby pay and display car parks at drop-off and pick-up times.
Papers presented to Lancashire County Council cabinet members stated that the outcome of those discussions would be "likely to have an impact on the extent of any parking restrictions that may be required in the area".
It has been proposed that new limits are introduced close to the junction of Back Lane, Sheep Hill Brow and Town Brow, along with restrictions on a bend in Back Lane. They will now be considered by cabinet at a later date.