Home   Malling   News   Article

New ANPR cameras and fees at Platt Memorial Hall car park make parking for parents of Platt Church of England Primary School dangerous says grandad

The introduction of ANPR cameras at a village hall car park has had the unintended knock-on effect of putting children’s lives at risk, a grandad has claimed.

The trustees of Platt Memorial Hall in Platinum Way, St Mary’s Platt, introduced the cameras at the end of last year and began charging non-hall users.

The charging policy has resulted in "parking chaos" at the school
The charging policy has resulted in "parking chaos" at the school

But the car park had been regularly used by parents of children attending Platt Church of England Primary school next door at drop-off and pick-up times.

All car park users are given a 10-minute grace period before receiving a ticket, so if parents are quick, they can still park there.

But as the children do not always appear promptly that is not usually enough time.

Rather than pay to park – or risk a penalty fee – many parents are now trying to jam into the limited parking at the school or parking on yellow lines on the main road.

Ray Hook, 77, walks his two granddaughters to school, but has seen the parking chaos.

Grandad Ray Hook outside the Memorial Hall Car Park
Grandad Ray Hook outside the Memorial Hall Car Park

He said: “It is a new school that only opened in September 2021.

“No doubt the school layout followed KCC’s standard parking ratio, namely provision for staff and a few visitors.

“But it did not allow space for parents to drop-off or pick-up pupils.

“Initially, this was overcome by their using Platt Memorial Hall's empty car park next door for the brief drop-off and pick-up periods.

“But this changed dramatically this term after the hall installed ANPR cameras.

The opening ceremony for the new Platt school in 2021
The opening ceremony for the new Platt school in 2021

“The new set-up is creating chronic congestion and is an accident waiting to happen.

“Vehicles are now being double parked within the school’s limited parking area, with an overflow happening on the kerb of Platinum Way, which is short and narrow.

“In addition to the young children who attend the school moving around, there are mothers carrying babies, with toddlers close by.

“At any time, but particularly when it is raining or windy, it seems inevitable that a child or parent will get hurt. Accidents happen, even when children are under control.”

Mr Hall thought the action of the trustees was unnecessary.

Pay up or else, the sign warns
Pay up or else, the sign warns

He said: “The school’s use of the car park did not impact on the Memorial Hall’s activities.

“Taking into account the primary school’s calendar, school-related car use was less than one hour per day, for 191 days each year.

“Drop off is between 8.30 and 8.50am. The first function at the hall begins at 9am.

“Functions in the afternoon start around 2pm, therefore the 3.10 to 3.25pm pick-ups do not block any of the hall's visitors, as they are already there.

“The hall’s attitude seems to be ‘the school’s parking problem is the school’s problem, not ours’, and ‘if you want to park in the Memorial Hall car park, pay for it’.

Parking at the school is at a premium
Parking at the school is at a premium

“But we are all part of the same community and it seems crazy when I walk past an empty car park on one side of the road, and parking chaos on the other.

“I think it is worth reflecting that although it has since been rebuilt, the original Platt Memorial Hall was to commemorate the 49 men from Platt village – 25% of the village’s men – who laid down their lives in the First World War.

“The descendants of some of those men will be attending Platt Primary today. What would those men think of the way their families are being treated?

“Also how do the 300-plus local people who made personal donations and loans to build the current hall feel about the Memorial Hall charging for children to attend school?

“It seems morally wrong to me.”

Looking across the empty Memorial Hall car park to the parking congestion outside the school
Looking across the empty Memorial Hall car park to the parking congestion outside the school

“The trustees should look across from their empty car park, watch the children moving between parked vehicles and review the benefits their decision has brought to their community.

“In a world that is becoming increasingly fractured, isn’t it time for some community spirit?

“Would it be too much to extend the grace period to even 15 minutes?”

Emma Smith is the head teacher at the school. She said: “We are aware of the current parking-related congestion during our morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times.

“We are working closely with KCC colleagues and local partners to agree a resolution that will help to alleviate the congestion in the near future.”

The new Platt Memorial Hal
The new Platt Memorial Hal

David Vallance is the chairman of the hall trustees. He admitted the new parking fee policy was aimed specifically to deter parents using the car park.

He explained the hall’s policy in the village newsletter.

He said: “There was at times careless and inconsiderate parking by some parents, involving parking on the paved areas, outside the marked bays and in disabled bays.

“This increased the risk of an accident.

“Unfortunately, discussions with the school, and on one occasion with a KCC representative, resulted in a stalemate, with no commitment or workable ideas from the school.

We feel we had little choice

“ANPR cameras enable us to take back control of our car park.

“We did not want to install the system, but feel we had little choice."

Mr Vallance said that if a better, workable, alternative system were suggested, the trustees would listen.

Meanwhile, those caught not paying the parking fee of £1 an hour or part thereof will receive a £100 fine, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

The car park is managed on the hall’s behalf by UK Car Park Management Ltd.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More