Holistic solution needed for parking problems near schools, says Observer

Better public transport is one way of solving parking chaos outside schools, says our Saturday independent columnist, Observer.  But, the question is: will anyone see and act on the ‘big picture’?


The gauntlet has been thrown down to St Philip’s Primary School over the way parents are parking at the Victoria Pleasure Ground.

The town council issued the challenge because it owns the car park and the school wishes to keep a ‘safe route’ across council land and into the school.

The link was first established to keep the children away from building works at College Place.


At this location, the town council can have some influence over the way parking is conducted.

However, although St Philip’s has hit the headlines in this case, parking outside most schools in Uckfield is a worry. It is probably the same around much of the country.

At Manor Primary and Twiglets nursery there is a ‘walk and talk’ initiative to try and keep cars away from the school gates.


I have been told of other instances in the town where buses, large vehicles and even emergency vehicles have not been able to gain access because of parents dropping off, or collecting, pupils.

It all comes back to education and enforcement.

Schools will have – and no doubt, will continue to do so – asked those with cars to act responsibly. Equally, most parents will do the ‘right thing’.

Safe spaces

However, in all these locations there are more cars than safe spaces for vehicles to stop/park, and that’s when the problems begin.

Again, I am told of parents waiting more than hour for the school bell to ring so they can get a satisfactory and safe place to stop.

The conundrum is this:

  • Is all this ‘willy-nilly’ parking putting children’s lives at risk; or
  • Is all this ‘willy-nilly parking a perfect traffic calming measure because other traffic feels it must travel so slowly?

There is usually something of a backlash on social media when I suggest better bus services but that would do much to solve problems. I am, by the way, not suggesting banning the car but at least people having a choice; especially in towns.


Public transport is so poorly regarded these days.

The argument from those in power is very much: Building roads is an investment; paying for better rail and bus services is seen as subsidy.

I don’t see it like that.


Better public transport would be good for the environment and good for our health.

I shudder to think what the carbon dioxide and levels of particulates have been like some still mornings this autumn outside schools.

Someone needs to look at the big picture and take control but I fear there is no appetite for such bold action.

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