MP and parents concerned over traffic and parking chaos outside school
- Credit: Kathryn Cross
An MP has added his voice to concerns over the "traffic and parking chaos" outside a Norfolk primary school amid fears it could lead to a serious accident.
George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, visited Robert Kett Primary School in Wymondham on Friday, October 8 after concerns were raised.
Parents have been calling for improved safety measures at pick-up times outside the school following a spate of near-misses.
Last year, they said dangerous driving and inconsiderate parking led to chaotic scenes, and worried parents shared their stories about children almost being hit by cars.
Mr Freeman said: “It is absolutely unsatisfactory.
“We need to get county highways and education here to see how it is and find a solution because there has to be one.
"Doing nothing is not an option. I know there are issues in many more schools in my constituency but this is the worst I’ve seen.”
Town councillor Kathryn Cross said twice a day the road outside the school is a congested mix of parked cars, with some on pavements and others blocking driveways or on yellow lines, parents "weaving in and out as they hunt for spaces", and cyclists and children crossing.
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She added: "Add in the bus route and general traffic cutting through to get into the town centre has led the situation to become so perilous."
Some parents have started campaigning for measures to ease the situation, and the school had taken steps to help including staggering pick-up times.
Parent Lexi Zelley said they were looking at ways to fund a minibus to collect children who live further away, but that parents would like to see a pedestrian crossing on Hewitts Lane and a 20mph zone.
Miss Zelley said: “My daughter and I nearly got hit by a car reversing back up the road towards us.
"The catchment of the school is now huge, but money from the new housing developments has not been invested in any infrastructure around it. Local residents are fed up as well with cars parked everywhere.”
Headteacher Cara Fahy said road safety has been a focus for the school for a number of years.
She said: "As a school community we feel very strongly that something needs to change to reduce the potential for serious accidents and collisions, it feels as through we are just waiting for something awful to happen to one of our school community before any action will be taken.
"The main concern is that I have 620 children coming to school, and for me, it’s quite worrying and makes me anxious.
"There are times when I worry that someone will tell me an accident has happened. I’ve had emails from parents saying their child was almost hit."
She added it was also a problem for other schools in the area, and that road safety is about ensuring children know how to be safe on and near roads, and that drivers are driving and parking carefully near the school.
Town councillor Robert Savage plans to contact Norfolk County Council officials about it. He along with Mr Freeman and Ms Cross hope to welcome them on site to discuss the issue further.
In response, Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, and chair of the Norfolk Parking Partnership Joint Committee, said they are "aware of the pressures that can occur at schools" across Norfolk at the start and end of the school day.
He added: "We know schools work to raise awareness of the issues, and urge parents and carers to always park considerately and observe road signs and markings, and parking officers will continue to make routine visits to this location.
"Any further highway restrictions would need to be carefully considered, would need the support of the local community, and we would be mindful of the need to avoid simply pushing any problem parking issues further away from the school.”