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Stuart Pywell of St Stephen's Primary in Canterbury hits out at bad parking

A head teacher has been sworn at by parents outside the school gates and even had to mediate in fights over parking.

Stuart Pywell says disputes over parking at St Stephen’s Primary in Hales Drive, Canterbury, are so volatile at picking up time that he is forced to act as an unofficial traffic warden.

His comments come amid calls for council wardens to be redeployed to schools when barriers and number plate reading cameras are installed in city centre car parks later this year.

Bad parking is causing friction at this school
Bad parking is causing friction at this school

Parking issues, including parents blocking driveways, refusing to move for other traffic and parking on zig-zag lines, are a twice-daily headache for St Stephen’s.

“I go out there at the end of the day when it’s at its worst, but these days some parents are more likely to tell you where to go than do the right thing,” Mr Pywell said.

“I’ve been sworn at by parents when I’ve asked them to move. We’ve even had to deal with fights, two since Christmas.

“You get people parking over the driveways of homes in Hales Drive and then just abandoning their cars.”

The school has resorted to placing yellow warning signs around the school gates in an effort to encourage drivers to avoid bad habits.

Head teacher Stuart Pywell
Head teacher Stuart Pywell

But Mr Pywell is unconvinced that sending traffic wardens to his school will be an effective remedy for a slew of problems.

He went on: “We’ve had the police and PCSOs up here and nothing really happens. Our yellow warning signs are as good as any people.”

Former city councillor Mike Sole argues that with the arrival of barriers at car parks and the automatic number plate recognition system, wardens will be free to tackle other parking issues – especially outside the gates of primary schools.

“This is about safety, and particularly the safety of children coming and going to school,” he said.

“With the council introducing these barriers at car parks, this is an opportunity not to make people redundant, but to redeploy the resources we have.

“The wardens could go around the schools each day, just make sure there aren’t people double parked or on the pavements.”

Mr Sole submitted his idea as part of a consultation on the future of parking and parking services in the district.

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