Parents who have been taking their children to and from Brynmenyn Primary School in Bridgend, Wales, said residents have been trying to stop them from parking next to the school
Image: John Myers)
Parents who have been taking their children to and from Brynmenyn Primary School in Bridgend, Wales, said residents have been trying to stop them from parking at Lon Derw – a residential estate next to the school.
The feud started after Bridgend County Borough Council decided to close the school’s drop-off zone at the end of last year, citing health and safety reasons.
Parents have told Wales Online they have since found it a struggle to “park safely”, with many deciding to use the double yellow line-surrounded street, Lon Derw.
But residents claim those parking in the street during school times have damaged cars and fences and cause a safety risk to children, as well as reportedly blocking an ambulance trying to reach a care home in the area.
One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “For the past two days there has been a police presence at school collection time.
“I’ve got three children and I’m walking them to the car – what my concern is, because everybody is rushing, that an accident is going to happen.
“My own children have had a couple of close calls, so have [other] parents I know of.
“From my perspective, [the council] either need to put something on the main road, like a lollipop lady to help parents cross the road with their children, or they need to re-open the school gates as soon as possible so that parents can use the parking facilities.”
The primary school’s car park, where parents used to be allowed to pick up and drop off their children, is now only to be used by school staff, school buses, those dropping off children with additional learning needs, and blue-badge holders.
The nearby car park for Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen has also been withdrawn as an option.
Described as a “barricade” by one parent, some residents in the area set up deck chairs in the middle of Lon Derw to prevent cars from parking on the estate during drop off times.
The blocking of the road is legal as it is a private road, and those blocking the road are letting in residents and visitors to the nearby care home, Ty Ynysawdre.
One resident, Jessica Upham, said: “All the driveways are getting blocked we can’t get to one from them.
“There’s been near misses with children walking to and from school. People have been parking on our driveways, all the grass has been turned up, they’ve damaged cars, fences, drains have all been lifted.
“People can’t pass on the pavement with babies and prams. I take my kids [to] school late now so that I haven’t got to walk through all the hassle over the cars.
“It’s been reported to the council, the ombudsman, the police, the local councillor has been informed.”
Another resident, Nikita Jones, said: “The school closed the car park and with us living so close to the school they’re constantly parking on the curbs, I’ve got people parking on my drives.
“My daughter came out yesterday and if it weren’t for me shouting come away from the road she probably would have been hit by a car.
“I don’t want her to go into school every day with the fear of possibly getting knocked over by people who shouldn’t be parked here anyway.
“Some parents have actually been quite rude. I’ve asked a few parents to move off my drive and I’ve got nothing, just foul language and abuse.
“There’s so many people and some just don’t care, some understand where you’re coming from but others just give abuse.”
Residents also recalled an incident recently where an ambulance was reportedly unable to get to the care home opposite due to the volume of vehicles parked in the street.
One resident, Mal Harris, had a medical emergency last week which required the presence of a paramedic and an ambulance – he considered himself lucky that it wasn’t during the school rush hour.
Mal said: “We’ve obviously had enough because they’re blocking the driveways. I had to buy a sign for the front of my driveway because I’ve been blocked in.
“All it takes is for one toddler to stumble into the road, especially with all the vehicles lined up and parked the way they do. I really hope it doesn’t come to it.
“I saw someone once parked on the zebra crossing.”
Independent Bridgend County Borough Councillor for Ynysawdre, Cllr Tim Thomas, said he has been “pushing every day for a resolution”.
He said: “Lindsey Harvey has emailed me on Monday and said that they’re looking at a number of scenarios and that he hopes that the decision will be made within days, and that was Monday.
“And I’ll be relaying that on to residents as soon as possible.
“I’ve had lots of complaints from obviously Lon Derw, Heol Caeglas, right up some streets in Brynmenyn.
“I remain disappointed that they passed a school parking problem on into the community and people who live within the community [are] quite right to feel quite disgruntled by this.
“And I’m hoping that now we’ll have a resolution as quickly as possible.”
A Bridgend County Borough Council spokesperson said: “The temporary measures that have been put in place at Brynmenyn Primary are intended to reduce the chance of an accident occurring on school premises, and were introduced following an assessment of the drop-off area which revealed that it was not being used as intended.
“The temporary closure is in place while we carry out a thorough review and look at what alternative options may be possible.”