Jo McCarron is working with local residents in Hanham to help ease parking problems at school drop-off and pick-up times on Memorial Road.
Over the summer, a number of residents in the area raised concerns with Jo about vehicles parking on both sides of Memorial Road at school drop-off and pick-up times, making it difficult for moving traffic to pass. In particular it causes problems for larger buses and restricts access for ambulances and fire engines. It also makes it difficult for those exiting the junction of Heath Road to see if moving vehicles are coming down Memorial Road when they are pulling out.
Jo circulated a survey to households along Memorial Road and Heath Road to ask if they share these concerns, and if so how they think the problem should be addressed. All 24 residents who returned the survey agreed the parking situation is a problem. They made a number of practical suggestions, which Jo has looked into to clarify a process for the residents to press their case. Jo will continue working with them to make sure their concerns are heard where they can be acted upon.
(Please see below for a summary of the work Jo has done on the issue and the opportunities for residents to raise their concerns.)
Jo said, “The parking problems at school drop-off and pick-up times seem particularly severe on Memorial Road – partly because two schools, Christchurch Primary and Hanham Woods Academy, are both on the same site, partly because of the width of the road, and partly because Christchurch is being expanded – but I know school parking is a frustration for residents, and parents, across the constituency. For lots of residents the end of school holidays means the return of school traffic and daily parking chaos.
“It’s important that schools understand residents’ concerns and do what they can to encourage responsible parking. The work Christchurch school has done encouraging parents to park safely and legally – and encouraging more children to walk to school – is a good example for other schools to follow. It’s also important that residents use the opportunities available, such as at local Safer & Stronger and Area Forum meetings, to raise their concerns with the local police and local councillors, who need to be aware if the enforcement of current restrictions should be improved, or if road markings need to be changed.”
“One of the major obstacles residents face in getting local concerns dealt with is knowing where to turn to raise those concerns – I’ve experienced that frustration myself, trying to get things done but facing layer upon layer of bureaucracy – so I will always do what I can to support and guide residents so they know who makes the relevant decisions, how those decisions work, and how they can have their say when those decisions are taken. My priority is always to help make sure local concerns are heard and acted upon.”
Summary of the work Jo has done on the issue and the opportunities for residents to raise their concerns.
- The most common suggestion in the surveys returned to Jo was that new parking restrictions are needed, either all day or at pick-up and drop-off times only, at least on one side of Memorial Road. Jo contacted the Council to ask about the prospect of improved restrictions. The Council advised that local councillors are due to decide at a meeting on 24th November whether to implement a scheme to review waiting restrictions in the Hanham area, including on Memorial Road and Heath Road. Currently it is on a longlist of potential schemes for inclusion onto the Council’s programme for next year. Jo has written to residents encouraging them to attend the meeting, which is at 7pm at the Civic Centre on Kingswood High Street (BS15 9TR), and will read any statements from residents unable to attend.
- Some of the suggestions – for example a drop-off zone within the school grounds – would require action by the school, so Jo raised residents’ concerns with the head teacher at Christchurch School. Ian Hutton, the head teacher, said he fully understands the frustration for local residents, and explained the work the school already does to encourage parents to park responsibly and legally. Last year they held a campaign day where children made banners and posters and stood out on the pavements, and they have launched a new travel plan which looks at ways to encourage more children to walk to school, and to make children and parents aware of how to park and drive safely on the surrounding roads.
- The survey returns also pointed out the importance of better enforcement of the restrictions that already exist, and this was a point also emphasised by Ian Hutton. Jo has written to residents encouraging them to attend the upcoming Safer & Stronger community meeting with representatives from the local police. This is an opportunity to discuss the prospect of better enforcement of parking restrictions, including the general requirement for safe, legal parking. Jo is also inviting Ian Hutton – or another representative from the school – and will read any statements from residents unable to attend.