Are more parking restrictions coming to Red Lion Close

The changes are conditions attached to the school’s expansion

Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) has started a public consultation over adding parking restrictions in Red Lion Close, Cranfield.

The proposal, labelled “a disgrace” by one school-run parent, is a combination of waiting restrictions, footpath improvements and pedestrian crossings.

The council said that these proposals will improve traffic flow in the close.

Cllr Ken Matthews is for the parking restrictions Image: Central Bedfordshire Council

Ward Councillor, Cllr Ken Matthews said:

“The parking restrictions were conditions attached to the planning application for the expansion of Holywell School.

“Indiscriminate parking led to “stand offs” when buses and cars exiting the Close came against buses and cars attempting to access the school.

“This situation has persisted for some and led the head teacher appealing to parents not to use the Close when collecting or dropping off their children, all to no avail.”

Cllr Matthews added that he had witnessed the chaos and that he is favour of the proposals.

The no-parking proposal is a “disgrace”

One parent on the school run said that the plans are a ‘disgrace’. She said:

“The school bus for those outside of Cranfield is too expensive, we have to drive here.

“What are we meant to do when there isn’t anywhere else to park?”

This lack of parking was highlighted by the Parish Council when Holywell School submitted its planning application.

The Parish Council noted that the suggestion parents in cars drop off and collect their children from the Cross Keys public house car park is not seen as a long term or a reliable provision.

The consultation does not offer any suggestions to how parents could do a school run without causing safety or traffic issues.

Child Riding Bike From Behind Parked Car Image: Adobe Stock

The current situation is a “danger to children”

During the consultation period for the school’s application, some residents were concerned about the danger faced by school children due to buses mounting the grass verges when attempting to progress along the close.

A spokesperson for The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) said:

“It is widely accepted that the area around the school gate should be kept free of vehicles to improve visibility. Children crossing in-between parked cars is a well-known road safely problem.”

Effectiveness of the restrictions is dependent upon local resources

The effectiveness of the waiting restrictions would only occur after effective enforcement. A spokesperson for Bedfordshire Police said that enforcement of parking offences is, in the first instance, handled by the local authority. They said:

“Before reporting a parking issue to the police, we would ask the public to initially make contact with their local council.

“However parking can become a police issue when a vehicle is causing an obstruction or has been parked in such a way that it is causing a hazard to other road users or pedestrians.”

The police spokesperson added that the local community team aren’t aware of complaints about this issue.

The council said that the restrictions would be enforced in the usual way as a minimum. Its spokesperson added that the school parking team make regular rounds to all the schools in the area for spot-checks with compliance.

Reporting drivers that ignore parking restrictions

What should people do if they witness drivers parking on zig-zags outside schools or ignoring no-waiting signs?

The Beds Police spokesperson said:

“We’d urge people to call 101 in a non-emergency situation. Each call we receive is assessed on THRIVE – Threat, Harm, Risk, Investigative opportunity, Vulnerability and Engagement.

“Resources are allocated accordingly; where crimes are no longer in progress or if there is no immediate risk to the public, response officers will not be deployed.

“However, we may look at long-term problem solving with partners to address the issue.”

Details of the proposal can be found on the Central Bedfordshire Council website. There is also a map showing the location for the proposed restrictions.

Residents can send their opinions via email  or via post.

The consultation closes on 22 November 2018, and the results will be determined by the Traffic Management Committee at a future date.

Holywell School did not respond when asked to comment on the proposed changes.