Council U-turns in school run parking row
Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter
After weeks of rising tensions between residents and parents, a council has revised its decision to close a school drop-off zone.
Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) yesterday announced that they will reopen the drop off zone at Brynmenyn Primary School in Ynysawdre for approved users only after the February half-term break.
Those wishing to become an approved user will need to complete an application process, which will be communicated to parents and carers separately by the school.
The Council’s decision to close the drop off zone in December due to safety concerns had left many parents looking for alternative parking options – leaving some nearby streets clogged with cars during the school run.
Residents living on Lon Derw formed a barricade on their street four weeks ago to prevent parents from parking on their driveways.
The drop off zones at Pencoed Primary School and Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen (CCYD) were also closed by BCBC in December.
At the time, the Council said that an assessment by council officers revealed multiple incidents of vehicles making dangerous manoeuvres, travelling at speed, blocking or not using parking bays correctly, and ignoring instructions from officers on site.
Councillor for Ynysawdre, Cllr Tim Thomas, said: “This has been a challenging time for parents, local residents and school staff.
“While the safety of children is paramount, I was very concerned about the impact closing these drop offs would have on safety within the community. I welcome the reintroduction, but I have several questions on the application and monitoring of access to drop off points, which I will put to BCBC.
“It was my understanding that the drop off points were closed due to the poor driving behaviour of a small minority of parents.
“If that is the case, I am surprised that the recommendations have taken almost three months while many people have been impacted in the community. I am still seeking transparency and clarity to ensure the longevity of safety for all.
“I will be interested to know, how many vehicles will be granted access, what criteria will they have to achieve to qualify and going forward how will they monitor the success of these new arrangements. I will also be seeking further clarity on what provisions are in place for breakfast clubs and after school clubs.”
Additional measures have been added by BCBC for the use of the drop off zone at Brynmenyn.
These include the drop-off zone being ‘locked down’ at the start and the end of the school day to restrict the exit of vehicles until it is safe to do so; and additional restrictions on site, like speed cushions, the introduction of a 5mph speed limit on school grounds, and a ban on reversing.
The Council added that there will be no option to drop-off Brynmenyn Primary School pupils on the Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen school site, unless there has been prior arrangement to do so.
Officers at BCBC met earlier this month with school representatives, the chair of governors of the school governing body and elected members of the council to discuss the closure and its impact on pupils, parents and carers.
As well as making changes at Brynmenyn Primary school, BCBC gave an update on the situation at Pencoed Primary and CCYD.
Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, Cllr Charles Smith, said: “These updated arrangements will be closely monitored and, if the risk becomes too great, the local authority will not hesitate to put further restrictions in place.
“The situation is not an easy one to manage, and pupil safety remains our number one priority, one which quite rightly takes precedence over all other considerations.
“I would like to thank parents and carers for their patience while we have worked on a solution to the issues experienced with the drop-off areas at Brynmenyn Primary School, Pencoed Primary School and Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen.
“I know that the schools will be grateful for the support of parents and carers in this matter, and I would ask that all those who are arriving by car to please ensure that they drive safely, take other road users into consideration, follow any instructions from staff and officers, and treat them and others with respect.”
The drop off site at CCYD will be reopened for the start and end of the school day with restrictions and additional control measures.
However, the drop-off site at Pencoed Primary will continue to remain restricted at the start and end of the school day.
There will continue to be no general open access for parents or carers arriving by private motor vehicle.
Access to the drop-off area is currently controlled by the school for certain categories of pupils, like those accessing the learning resource base and pupils with a physical disability.
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