Police called to protest at Sheffield school over dangerous parking

Police speak to protesters outside Carfield Primary School
Police speak to protesters outside Carfield Primary School
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Police have been called to a demonstration at a Sheffield primary school against dangerous parking which parents claim is endangering pupils.

A handful of parents and their children gathered outside Carfield Primary School in Meersbrook this morning brandishing placards saying 'keep our kids safe' and 'it's only a matter of time'.

Headteacher Lorna Culloden (right) and teacher Jill Shaw outside Carfield Primary School

Headteacher Lorna Culloden (right) and teacher Jill Shaw outside Carfield Primary School

They were protesting against parents driving up Argyle Close - a cul-de-sac with terraced houses on one side - to drop their children outside the school gates.

Standing at the bottom of the close, they stood in the middle of the road making their feelings known to approaching drivers before stepping aside to let them pass.

Gavin Leach, who has a son at the school, was among those demonstrating.

"It seems people are waiting for an accident to happen before anything is done. Something needs to be done now before anything happens," he said.

Demonstrators claimed drivers were putting children's lives at risk

Demonstrators claimed drivers were putting children's lives at risk

"There's a close call nearly every week and you can see how far the school gates are from the end of the cul-de-sac. Why can't people walk those last 50 yards?

"Some people don't seem to care. The only reason we're here is for the children. Nothing else. We're just trying to keep our kids safe, and their kids as well."

Many parents walking their children to school this morning said they supported the protesters.

Vicky, who was walking her son Jason to school, said: "I absolutely support what they're doing. There are lots of safe places to park in the area and I don't think you need to park outside the school."

Philippa, another mother walking her child to the school, said: "I think it's a really good idea what they're doing. The driving up here is ridiculous sometimes. They come far too fast, the children run out of school and it's dangerous.

But clearly not everyone was impressed, as two police officers arrived shortly after the demonstration began saying they had received a complaint about people blocking the road.

They remained at the scene but did not stop the protest and took contact details from one of the protesters saying they were keen to work with campaigners to prevent dangerous parking.

The protest was a relatively peaceful one but headteacher Lorna Culloden said tempers had flared in the past over the emotive issue.

She told how the school supported the demonstration and had written to parents urging those driving pupils to school not to drop their children off outside the gates.

"I think parents have finally lost the patience they have had with one another.

"They have come out peacefully to ask people to stop. We've sent letters out, we've had newsletters. I know that governors at our school have also been present and it's having no effect whatsoever.

"I think this is about raising awareness, making it culturally unacceptable or a little bit embarrassing to use the close for that purpose.

"That's where we're trying to get to, so people think I won't come up the close because it's dangerous.

"We don't want to wait and the parents obviously don't want to wait for an accident to happen."

Ms Culloden added that she was aware of near misses at the school, which has 624 pupils, and had been called on to act as a peacemaker in the past when parents 'lost their rag' over dangerous parking.

She said the school lacked the resources to patrol the entrance every day or the power to punish parents caught parking on the keep clear markings.

"We could do with cameras or double yellows or permit parking, bollards - something that's going to change the attitude of the parents," she said.

"I think that only happens financially when you issue tickets and you prosecute unfortunately."

Sheffield Council recently teamed up with South Yorkshire Police to crack down on parents parking dangerously outside schools.

They spoke to drivers and issued fines to those stopping on double yellow lines and keep clear markings near seven schools during the six-week operation.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for transport, said at the time that most parents had supported the action.

Inspector Jason Booth said some parents had been 'openly angry' about the enforcement action, but added 'I do not make any apologies in ensuring the safety of kids'.

The Star recently highlighted how a petition had been launched for safety measures outside a Sheffield school after a young girl was hit by a car near the entrance.

The 10-year-old was luckily not seriously injured in the collision outside St Catherine's Catholic Primary School in Pitsmoor, but her family said 'it could have been a lot worse'.

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