Parents campaign for parking restrictions outside Mansfield primary school

Richard Houghton with his son Thomas seven, and step daughter Alaexandra Shopska, 11 outside the Flying High Academy on Sommersall Street which is often the scene of thoughtless parking.
Richard Houghton with his son Thomas seven, and step daughter Alaexandra Shopska, 11 outside the Flying High Academy on Sommersall Street which is often the scene of thoughtless parking.

A furious dad is calling on council chiefs to increase parking restrictions outside a Mansfield school to discourage parents from parking dangerously.

Richard Haughton, whose children aged seven and 11 attend Ladybrook's Flying High Academy, said the parking is 'ridiculous' at peak times, and Nottinghamshire County Council has been less than helpful with his request for the parking restrictions.

There are currently no restrictions outside the school's entrance, which Mr Haughton says is leading to dangerous parking.

The school was rebuilt in 2016, moving the entrance from Townroe Drive onto Somersall Street.

The old yellow lines are still on Townroe Drive, but none have been painted on Somersall Street, leading to parents legally parking right outside the school gates, and all the way up the road, forcing traffic to drive in single file at busy times.

Mr Haughton contacted the council to request parking restrictions such as yellow zig zag lines outside the school's Somersall Street entrance, but his request was denied.

He believes the refusal is down to funding, but says the school has offered to fundraise to pay for the lines.

"The council's representatives said they do understand our safety concerns, but it would be difficult to put parking restrictions in place due to having to obtain a legal order, which will cost between £2 - 4,000," he said.

"It's nice to know how little my children's lives are worth to them.

"This is about children's safety, and would work out to pennies per child."

Mr Haughton has also criticised parents for their parking at pick up and drop off times.

He added: "There have been numerous times that I have personally witnessed severely dangerous parking outside the main entrance to the school.

"I have seen a large van totally blocking a pavement causing children and mothers with pushchairs to pass by on the road instead of the safety of the pavement.

"This is by no means an isolated incident - as recently as last week, I observed a parent parking with his front quarter across the drive.

"This is happening because of the lack of any enforceable parking restrictions."

Stacey Walker has two children at the school, and says that something needs to be done before an accident happens.

"It's outrageous if the council are waiting for something to happen before they will paint the lines," she said.

"Something needs to be done, we are frustrated that this problem feels never ending, and quite a few parents feel that enough is enough.

"There are no markings on Somersall Street and very few on Townrow Drive, resulting in unsafe parking. There is no safe place for the children to cross, as cars park on the pavements.

"Parking at the top of Somersall Street leads to single lane traffic that is not suitable because in a small area you will find the Flying High Academy, Ladybrook Children's Centre, Cherubs Day Nursery and the Redgate School.

"Traffic is at a standstill at peak times, and local residents have even been involved in getting traffic moving again.

"Residents have also received verbal abuse from impatient parents when the residents try to get on their own drives.

"I have spoken to the school and they are willing to fundraise to pay for the markings, but the county council said its not possible."

Caroline Armstrong, headteacher at Flying High Academy said: “We understand that without any current parking restrictions on Somersall Street, parked cars are there legally, in the technical sense and as advised by highways in their correspondence with us.

"However, as a consequence, this has led to uninhibited parking which makes the road unsafe for children and families to cross, and frustratingly, inhibits our neighbours from entering or leaving their own driveways when cars are parked inconsiderately.

“It is in all our interests that a safe environment should be maintained as children arrive and leave the school premises.

"Whilst we understand that no one is deliberately trying to jeopardise safety, we continue to ask drivers to consider the need for careful safety precautions where children need to cross the roads, that access for emergency vehicles should not be hampered, and that residents should be allowed to move freely, to and from their own properties.

"It is our fervent hope that highways recognise our difficulties and help us to find a solution both for the school and its children and our neighbours and other road users.”

Nottinghamshire County Council has been contacted for comment.