Published: 12:48, 14 September 2021
| Updated: 19:18, 14 September 2021
Dozens of parents parking dangerously outside schools have been slapped with fines in the first week of the new term.
New CCTV cameras installed outside three schools in Dartford have caught illegally stopped vehicles outside the gates at pick-up and drop-off times.
A council leader has blasted "the entitlement of drivers" putting their convenience over children's safety after 74 motorists were found to be blocking and parking illegally.
The cameras have now gone live at Manor Community Primary in Swanscombe, The Brent Primary School in Stone and Dartford Primary Academy.
The move by the borough council, announced in June, is part of its clamp down on the problem and bid to improve safety for children.
Plans to install the cameras have been discussed for several months by council chiefs and it follows campaigns from concerned parents about parking outside schools around the town.
Further cases in addition to the 74 tickets already issued are due to be processed for those parking illegally at times when children are arriving for or leaving school.
Each driver will be issued with a fixed penalty notice.
Dartford council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite, said: “You would like to think that motorists wouldn’t need to be told to park safely around schools, but since some of them clearly don’t get the message, I think most sensible drivers, parents and residents will support our action.
“Safety of children is more important than the convenience and entitlement of those who think that they can ignore the safety measures designed to give kids space and visibility when they are around schools.
“This is not a negotiation - children’s safety comes first.
“We will issue penalty notices and prosecute where it’s appropriate and I’m looking at ways to plough proceeds of fines back into measures to make more schools safe.
“I don’t take pleasure in seeing people fined but in this case the behaviour and entitlement of some drivers has reached dangerous levels.
“There are ways to make the journey to and from school a healthier and safer part of a child’s day, but for those who really can’t avoid using a car for the school run, parking and driving safely is essential.”
It is hoped further cameras will be installed at other schools and further sites with the latest round triggered by a child being injured when they were hit by a car outside Manor primary school last November.
Cllr Kite, who also sits on Kent County Council, (KCC) previously said further applications will be made to the county's highways team with Temple Hill Primary in St Edmunds Road "top of that list" after it called for a designated drop-off zone outside the school.
Parent governor at Temple Hill Darren Povey welcomed the introduction of CCTV when it was announced earlier this year.
He led a campaign for improved road safety measures and awareness after his teenage son, Dean, was hit by a car near the school.
“This is not a negotiation - children’s safety comes first..."
Mr Povey is also fighting for 20mph zones outside schools and in residential streets in Dartford to protect children further.
KCC this week ended a public consultation to reduce the speed limit across the Fleet Estate off Gore Road and the A296 Princes Road, which will include all streets and outside Fleetdown Primary Academy.
The authority said the scheme is being proposed to "avoid danger to persons or other traffic" and to "prevent the likelihood of any such danger arising".