POLICE are taking steps to gain more powers to tackle motorists putting child safety at risk outside South Yorkshire schools.
Senior officers are in talks with highways engineers over measures to ensure all regulations – such as ‘Keep Clear’ and zig-zag lines – are covered by legal orders by early next year.
The move is part of the South Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership’s It’s Your Child campaign, backed by The Star. It was stepped-up as children returned to the classroom this month, with police community support officers going to all schools during the morning and afternoon run to warn of the dangers of irresponsible parking.
Leaflets have been handed out to parents, with warning notices placed on cars which are causing an obstruction or disobeying the rule.
Introducing a traffic regulation order covering all road markings would enable police to prosecute offenders, many of whom are parents keen to get as close to their youngster’s school as possible.
South Yorkshire Police Inspector Ian Stubbs, who is leading the campaign, said: “I met with the highways engineers again two weeks ago.
“The work once completed will ensure that all the traffic regulations outside schools are effective and covered by TROs. We are hoping to advertise the TROs in October and have the work completed by early in the new year. This is a difficult thing to achieve and requires some public consultation as is taking time. Its more important to get it right than to rush through changes.
“Once the work is completed with highways then we will be in a position to undertake some enforcement work.”
Insp Stubbs is also awaiting the outcome of a survey of parents at a number of schools in Sheffield which were selected to pilot the scheme.
Grants were handed out to primaries and secondaries in Gleadless Valley, Woodseats, Lowedges, Nether Edge, Jordanthorpe, Beauchief and Greenhill areas of the city.
Sheffield Council has contributed more cash to It’s Your Child, which will help the partnership as they roll it out to schools across the area.
Insp Stubbs said: “The evaluation of the parent surveys isn’t completed yet. We are hoping to conduct a survey of childen’s perceptions at some point before Christmas.
“We are spending it where it is needed, the majority on highways improvements. Altogether a lot is happening but it is a long term project, over three years, as I said at the outset.”
STAR readers have come forward with suggestions of which schools should be prioritised as the first to have legal orders making their ‘Keep Clear’ markings enforceable so people parking on them can be fined.
Sheffield Council has invited members of the public to make suggestions - which it will consider when it decides which areas need the attention first.
The council is planning to pass orders for more than 100 schools.
Concerned dad Kevan Smith, of Manor, said: “We have some real problems with our parents where parking is concerned at Pipworth Community Primary School.
“There are simply no parking facilities and sometimes the cars can be backed up actually into Prince of Wales Road, which causes problems for children walking to school and to local residents.”
Meanwhile, Robert Hattersley nominated Gleadless Junior and Infant School.
He said: “I believe there is an accident waiting to happen just because of lazy people just not bothering to park properly.”
And two readers suggested Brookhouse School, Beighton.
Grandmother Diane Morley, of Beighton, said: “I walk past the school every day on my way home from work in the afternoons and there are always people parked where they shouldn’t, putting pedestrians’ safety at risk.”
Another reader, Christine Nettleship, said: “At Brookhouse there are problems of bad driving, inconsiderate parking parking on the kerbside and motorists not giving way to people getting off the road.”
Kim Strutt, caretaker at Wincobank Nursery and Infant School, Newman Road, said: “I’d nominate our school. People frequently ignore the yellow zig zags and we have to send teaching assistants to the school gates to discourage people from parking there.”