County councillor championing parents' road safety concerns over parking limits near Chorley primary school

Worried parents have been voicing their safety concerns over parking restrictions around a primary school next to a busy main road.

Lancashire County Council has tabled plans to bring in double yellow lines down Back Lane in Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, after concerns were raised about the number of cars parked near Clayton-le-Woods CE Primary School, which lies on the corner of Back Lane and Sheep Hill Lane.

Clayton-le-Woods CE Primary School, centre, in Back Lane with Town Brow Car Park to the north on the other side of Sheep Hill Lane (Google Maps)

Clayton-le-Woods CE Primary School, centre, in Back Lane with Town Brow Car Park to the north on the other side of Sheep Hill Lane (Google Maps)

Lancashire County Coun Mark Perks, who represents Clayton with Whittle, has revealed that the excess parking has come as a result of parents dropping off their schoolchildren opting to park in Back Lane rather than at Cuerden Valley Park's Town Brow car park - residing on the other side of Sheep Hill Lane opposite the school - after it reduced its grace period to just 10 minutes in September 2018.

County Coun Perks explained that this 10 minutes, reduced from 15, has left many parents contacting him over their worries at feeling they have to rush across the 30mph road.

He said: "A lot of parents in that area travel to the school to drop off their children. It's not in a residential area.

"There's a big issue with parking safely. There is not enough time given to safely cross the main road from the [Town Brow] car park. There's far more traffic now because cars travel faster and there's more cars in general."

Cars parked down Back Lane just east of Clayton-le-Woods CE Primary School (Google Maps)

Cars parked down Back Lane just east of Clayton-le-Woods CE Primary School (Google Maps)

Following this the county council has introduced plans to bring in double yellow lines down Back Lane.

County council highways manager, Ridwan Musa, said: "There is an issue involving people parking along the bend on Back Lane impairing the driver's view of the road ahead and making it more difficult for people to travel along this road.

"One option is to introduce double-yellow lines to stop people parking there. These are only proposals at this time."

But County Coun Perks, describing the plans as a "knee-jerk reaction", said: "Some parents have not got the choice to travel in any other way than car. They aren't always local, some are from the likes of Brinscall.

"Where will they park now? They can't go in Back Lane and they can't stay for long enough in the Cuerden Valley car park.

"The very location of the school means it isn't smack bang in a residential area. It's some distance away from people's homes.

"I think the double yellows will make these problems much worse. [Lancashire County Council] really do need to talk to Cuerden Valley Park and look at it all again."

He added that "safety of the children has to be paramount".

And regarding the proposed double yellow lines, Coun Perks said that he hasn't been consulted as the local elected member of the county council.

"As the local member I haven't even been consulted," Coun Perks explained.

"It's going to affect so many people for the short period of time that they're there every day. It's an absolute waste of resources. There's so many other places with traffic problems that could benefit from this."

Simon Thorpe, Trust Manager at Cuerden Valley Park, said: "In the past there was an informal arrangement to allow parents a 15 minute grace period at Town Brow car park.

"Unfortunately parents stayed longer, some took the dog for a walk, parked erratically outside of the bays, and we received complaints from our visitors and permit holders who were upset that school users were parking for free and taking up all the spaces.

"It wasn’t fair that school users should dominate and abuse the car park which was meant for visitors to Cuerden Valley Park."

Mr Thorpe added: "New parking payment machines were introduced with ANPR cameras in September 2018 because the old machines were broken and unreliable.

"At the same time the grace period was reduced to 10 minutes at Town Brow in line with national parking guidelines.

"However a 25 minute grace period was provided at Back Lane car park which is opposite and closer to the School to enable parents to drop off and collect."

Anyone staying longer than 25 minutes would need to purchase a ticket, with annual permits available for Back Lane equating to 50p a day for the school year.

Coun Perks didn't accept the Trust's reasoning, saying: "This argument that cars are hurting users in the car park...there aren't many users at school times in the morning."

He added that the new parking system is causing "ill feelings" towards the park over the situation.

Mr Musa, highways manager for the county council, added: "We're still talking to the school, Chorley Council and we'll seek to involve Cuerden Valley Park, to see if another solution can be found that would work for all parties."

Coun Perks has also raised concern for Carvers Trees in Back Lane, who he has been in conservation with and believes could suffer as a result of the proposed double yellow lines on the road to curb school parking problems.