Village school parking restrictions to go ahead after councillors shown video of vehicles mounting the pavement
Parking restrictions will be introduced close to a village primary school which does not want them, after an attempt to force a rethink of the decision failed.
The headteacher of Rivington Foundation Primary School in Chorley attended a special meeting of Lancashire County Council’s internal scrutiny committee to set out her fears about the impact of the plans on the safety of her pupils.
Sarah Annette said that the proposal to paint yellow lines on parts of Horrobin Lane and Sheep House Lane would force children and their parents to walk further along narrow country roads in order to get to and from school.
The authority’s cabinet approved the measures earlier this month because of concerns that parking in the vicinity of the school - particularly on blind bends - was putting all road users at risk.
“I think some aspects of the proposal could make the situation worse - and put children in significant danger” Mrs. Annette said.
“Something should be done to look at the displacement [of vehicles] which this will cause - the problem will just go somewhere else,” the headteacher added, criticising the county council for not consulting directly with the school over the plans.
But a majority of members voted down a demand from the county councillor for the area, Kim Snape, to “call in” the decision for further consideration - after being played a video which showed dashcam footage of a council vehicle trying to negotiate the area. The driver came face to face with a van, which had to mount the kerb just yards away from pedestrians, so that both vehicles could pass a line of parked cars.
Mrs. Annette said that it was “a shame” that council staff had not taken the opportunity to call in to the school when they were just outside making the video.
But cabinet member for highways, Keith Iddon, said that he had a “duty of care” and had to act faced with the evidence before him.
“I’m prepared to send our teams in to help with this issue and give any resource we can to work with the school to get a solution,” he added.
County Cllr Iddon also promised to liaise with United Utilities over as-yet-unconfirmed plans for the company to start charging at a nearby car park, which was adding to parental concern over the new restrictions.
Earlier, County Cllr Snape had described the proposed restrictions as “disproportionate” and questioned why the authority was claiming that three road accidents in the area had been caused by restricted sight lines as a result of parking - when a police and community support officer had told her that was not the case. Highways bosses said that they had relied on information provided by Lancashire Police.
Committee member Cosima Towneley said that the authority had gone above and beyond the minimum requirements for public consultation by putting signs up in the area advising of the plans - adding that the fact the school had submitted a response showed that it had had “a fair crack of the whip”.
Fellow member Margaret Pattison described the video as “hair-raising”.
“It’s the worst road I have ever seen outside a school,” she said and suggested that a so-called walking bus could be set up to get children safely to and from the school gates.
Mrs. Annette told the committee that the footpaths were perilous in winter and added that other parts of Horrobin Lane already had restrictions in place - meaning children would have to walk further still.
A proposal by committee member John Fillis to pause the process while the county council’s officers entered into discussions with the school was rejected by a majority.
No date has been set for when the yellow lines will be rolled out.