Traffic and parking around Marlborough St Mary’s Primary School has been a cause for concern for some time. Matters came to a head this week when a pupil, on her way to school, was hit by a car in Isbury Road. This has prompted the pupil’s mother, Jen Sinclair, to launch a petition on Change.org (click here) for Wiltshire Council and the police to take action.
Jen Sinclair’s petition states, “The roads surrounding Marlborough St Mary’s Primary school are becoming more and more dangerous. Ducks Meadow, Isbury Road and Van Diemens are all dead end roads and there are high levels of traffic from parents dropping their children off at school and collecting them. I have seen illegal parking, manoeuvres and even mounting the pavement where children are walking. Vehicles have been seen in these areas performing 3 point turns directly outside the school, resulting in driving up on the pavement and pedestrians being forced to move. A large amount of cars park on double yellow lines and bends. There are a huge number of children and parents that walk these roads to school who are constantly met with these vehicles. At times this makes for a very upsetting and nervous walk to school.
I would really like this problem to be looked at by the school, parents, Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire police.”
Anne Schwodler, Headteacher at Marlborough St Mary’s told Marlborough.news, “With 406 pupils in the school we have a huge number of pedestrians in the area as well as St John’s pupils. Most parents are fantastic and lots and lots walk to school. However, there are a minority who don’t and who continue to park where they shouldn’t. The school doesn’t have any control over illegal parking. We can only request but we can’t enforce it. We have been in touch with the community police officer who patrols at busy times when he can.
When the school was built we put in requests to Wiltshire Council for additional crossing points; revised speed restrictions on George Lane and Ducks Meadow; ‘yellow zig-zag’ road markings on Duck’s Meadow outside the school; cycle path marking; directional (vehicle and pedestrian) signage to the school from George Lane; and ‘no parking’ signage in the vicinity of the new school entrance. The new pedestrian crossing on George Lane is now in public consultation but as far as we know there are no plans for these other safety measures.”
The school wants to put in a new application to Wiltshire Council for these measures. In the mean-time children in the school have been making posters to go up outside the school and there are plans for additional road safety training for the children.
Parent Jen Sinclair said, “I would like to see a sign up saying ‘Residents parking only’, as these are dead end roads anyway. I would like to see traffic wardens patrolling for the cars parked on double yellows and for parents to think twice before using these already very busy roads.”
Cllr Cleasby raised the matter at Marlborough Town Council Meeting on Monday June 28. She told Marlborough.news, “Traffic and parking in the roads surrounding St Mary’s is becoming more and more of a problem. I’ve seen cars mounting pavements making it dangerous for pedestrians. I’m really surprised nothing has happened before now. I’ve spoken to our Wiltshire Councillors who will take the matter further.”
Wiltshire Council commented:
Cllr Dr Mark McClelland said “It concerns me to hear of this incident. Wiltshire Council takes the safety of our children seriously, especially when travelling to and from school. We would encourage all schools to continue educating parents to utilise the options in place to limit vehicles accessing the residential streets in the immediate vicinity of their schools. This will be a benefit for all school patrons and local residents alike.
“Wiltshire Council has been working with St Mary’s school to improve how children access the site, and a number of improvements have already been developed; including improvements to the warning of the school to motorists on George Lane and Cherry Orchard. Additionally, a pedestrian crossing on George Lane is currently under consultation, with a view to implementation this summer ahead of the new school year in September. The consultation period runs to the 5th July and we would encourage comments to be submitted. Clearly we don’t want any further incidents at St Mary’s school and we will work with the school to ensure that this situation is monitored and further safety measures are encouraged.
The school are able to provide a number of free parking permits to parents for George Lane Car Park to drop off and collect children, removing the need to access the streets in the vicinity of the school. The proposed pedestrian crossing will provide pedestrians an improved facility when walking from areas north of George Lane accessing St Mary’s Primary School, and the route to St Johns via Van Diemens Close and Isbury Road’
Through the Taking Action On School Journeys initiative, the council continues to work with both St Mary’s School, and all schools across the county to improve routes to schools and encourage alternatives to car travel for these journeys. I would encourage those concerned to discuss these concerns with the school, and further improvements can be investigated where necessary and supported locally. In the meantime we continue to enforce parking restrictions in the vicinity, and where other issues are witnessed, such as driving on the footway, these must be passed to the Police.”