A Lancing headteacher has made a desperate plea for parents and other road users to park ‘considerately’ around the school.
Lee Murley, headteacher at Seaside Primary school in Freshbrook Road, Lancing, said there was a 25 minute window every morning and afternoon where the roads surrounding the school became ‘incredibly busy and incredibly dangerous’.
He said: “My biggest fear is that we will be on the front page because someone has been killed.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen.”
He said that while many families were ‘doing the right thing’, there existed ‘a very small minority’ of parents who were parking on the pavement on both sides of the road in order to drop off their children – leaving only a narrow gap for traffic to pass and restricting space for pedestrians on the pavement.
“It makes it incredibly difficult for passing pedestrians,” Mr Murley said. “It forces people to go onto the road.”
Despite repeated emails to parents and staff patrols, the often illegal offending occurred ‘daily’, he said.
“It’s persistent and it makes for a tricky situation,” he said.
“I get more emails complaining about parking than I do about anything to do with education, from other parents and residents.”
A scheme encouraging children to walk to school had had ‘a positive impact’, said Mr Murley, who added that he understood some families had no other option but to drive to school.
“I have no problem with them driving as long as they can park safely,” he said.
He suggested that those parents should park several minutes away on a quiet road and walk the rest of the way in.
“Park a bit further away rather than waiting in your car in gridlock,” he said. “It’s common sense.”
Mr Murley said he had seen the situation get worse as the school has grown.
Seaside has been gradually expanding from a two-form entry school to three-form entry school since 2012.
But he said proposals discussed with the Highways Agency back in 2012 to ease the situation had never been implemented.
Mr Murley said: “The Highways Agency need to come and look at it properly during the peak period of traffic.
“The roads round here really need rethinking,”
He called on West Sussex Highways to repaint the markings on the roads around the school, which were ‘almost completely faded’ in parts, and replace a barrier which had been was knocked down and removed.
Mr Murley also suggested cutting into the school field in Old Salts Farm Road in order to create a drop off bay. “That would be a massive solution – but it would cost money,” he said.
Nicola Irwin, senior deputy headteacher at the school, echoed his appeals.
She said: “So many people would welcome changes to the roads. Children need to be kept safe.”
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We would welcome further dialogue with the school to see what can be done to improve the situation.
“We know that the school has worked hard to remind parents regarding drop-off and pick-up driving/parking behaviours and we informed the school in December 2018 that enforceable, ‘school keep clear’ markings are proposed as part of our 2019/2020 programme.
“They are being advertised in the next few weeks and will offer enforcement protection at key school access points.
“Any anti-social driving should be reported directly to www.operationcrackdown.org or Sussex Police.”