‘It was mayhem’: Residents frustrated as parking ‘chaos’ outside primary school returns
Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter
Residents have spoken of their frustration at seeing “chaos” return to their street not long after a council reopened a school’s drop off zone to counter congestion during the school run.
Only this week, Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) reopened the drop-off zone at Brynmenyn Primary School in Ynysawdre for approved users only.
The decision came after weeks of mounting tensions between residents and parents due to an increased use of the street adjacent to the school – Lon Derw – during the school run after the drop-off zone was closed due to safety reasons in December.
Residents on Lon Derw said parents are continuing to use their cul de sac – and block driveways in some cases – and the nearby Ty Ynysawdre care home car park.
Lon Derw resident, Mal Harris said his main concern was someone potentially getting hurt due to the amount of traffic on the street.
He said: “I saw a lady on the zebra crossing and [a driver] just saw her at the last minute [to] brake. She was very close to being knocked over.
“It is all well and good the council having this drop off [zone] but it is no good if it is only for a select amount of people.
“You have got to have people in place [at the drop-off zone] to make it work. People are still coming into our cul de sac to park.
“It was mayhem.”
Additional measures have been put in place at the Brynmenyn Primary School drop-off zone.
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.
Council officers will also be on site advising parents where to park.
Parents 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.
BCBC and Brynmenyn Primary School have been contacted to specify what the eligibility criteria for becoming an approved user is.
Mr Harris added: “People are parking with no consideration for anyone but themselves.
“You have got people with high vis jackets by the gates watching this chaos unfolding and no one is taking control of the situation.
“The neighbours are starting to get fed up again. My main concern is that someone is someone getting hurt.”
Councillor for Ynysawdre, Tim Thomas, said he would like to see Lon Derw and, “where necessary”, other adjacent streets be made accessible for residents only.
He said: “I am extremely concerned to continue to receive correspondence from residents especially those living on Lon Derw with photos and videos of examples of poor driving behaviour.
“I agree with the recent quote from the Cabinet Member for Education that the safety of children should be paramount.
“However, this should extend to the children living on streets near schools such as Lon Derw.
“Accordingly, I have written to the Director of Communities to act, and I have recommended that Lon Derw, and where necessary other adjacent streets, be made access only for residents with regular monitoring from parking enforcement officers.
“Meanwhile, I am waiting for clarification on the criteria to gain access to the drop off points and on other points of clarification including requirements for those pupils engaged in breakfast clubs and after school activities.”
The drop-off zones at Pencoed Primary School and Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen (CCYD) were also closed 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.
Similarly to Brynmenyn Primary, the drop off site at CCYD has been reopened 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.
One resident living on Cae’r Eifal near Pencoed Primary who wished to remain anonymous said: “My wife and I live in Caer Efail, Pencoed which is a quiet twenty six property cul-de-sac with easy access to a rear entrance of the school.
“By stopping parents using the drop-off zone Bridgend Council have simply moved the problem elsewhere that is to our street and neighbouring roads on our estate. Every morning and afternoon our quiet estate is transformed from tranquility to chaos.
“I fully understand that they may have had to impose restrictions in the interests of child safety but they have simply moved the problem elsewhere (out of sight out of mind).”
A BCBC spokesperson said: “The council’s focus remains firmly fixed upon maintaining pupil safety following the dangerous misuse of the drop-off zones by some drivers.
“While the measures that are in place at Brynmenyn Primary School have allowed for a controlled reopening of the drop-off area for users determined by the school itself to be most in need, the majority of pupils who are arriving at Pencoed Primary School are doing so as pedestrians, and as such, there is a very clear need to limit the number of vehicles accessing that site.
“This is being closely monitored so that further changes can be made where appropriate. If any vehicle causes an obstruction by parking inconsiderately on a public highway in the meantime, it should be reported to South Wales Police.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.