Parking problems near primary school – ‘There is no quick fix’

Steward Road residents are being affected by inconsiderate parking. Picture Mark Westley
Steward Road residents are being affected by inconsiderate parking. Picture Mark Westley

Efforts are being made to alleviate parking issues near a Bury St Edmunds school.

Residents of Steward Road, a no-through road leading to Hardwick Primary School, Southgate Pre-School and Hardwick Children’s Centre, called a meeting with councillors to discuss inconsiderate parking.

They say that at times – mainly when school is starting or finishing – drivers obstruct paths and pavements and block them into their homes.

Last week’s extreme weather hit numbers at the meeting, with only about five residents making it to Southgate Community Centre, however it was still ‘productive’ according to borough councillor Sarah Stamp.

“The sheer volume of cars using the road is a problem,” she said.

“There is no quick fix to this situation. What we have got there now is what we’ve got to work with – it is a narrow residential street – so we need to try to educate parents. The school has been very helpful in the past in working with us to try to resolve the issue.”

Cllr Stamp added that the problems were worst around school drop-off and collection times, so solutions discussed so far included installing a ‘drop-off zone’ in the community centre car park and re-invigorating a walking bus.

Hardwick Primary School says it encourages pupils to walk or cycle to school where possible, with an estimated 90 per cent of the Year 5 and 6 pupils permitted to walk or cycle unsupervised already doing so.

Headteacher Daryl Jones said parents who needed to use a car for dropping off and picking up were already asked to use Southgate Community Centre car park instead of Steward Road, while a long-established volunteer-led walking bus was also well used by pupils.

“At the end of the day we do what we can to help,” said Mr Jones.

“Every school in Bury has a problem with parking and we have done everything that we can to try to alleviate these issues.

“The majority of our parents do park in the community centre car park or at the end of Steward Road and walk up. We are actually very lucky that we have the community centre car park, as most schools don’t have anything like that nearby.”

He added that police and highways who had monitored the road on several occasions recently were happy with the situation.