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Year Threes at Valley Invicta Primary School at Leybourne Chase show Tom Tugendhat parking woes

By Luke May

Pupils as young as seven have taken their local MP on a tour of parking problems near their school.

Year 3 pupils at Valley Invicta Primary School at Leybourne Chase wrote letters to Tom Tugendhat after they discovered safety concerns on roads around their school.

Teacher at the Derby Drive school Karen Clark said: "We didn't think we'd get a response, maybe a letter, but then he got back to us saying he wanted to visit.

Year 3 pupils took MP Tom Tugendhat around Leybourne Chase to show off the dangers on local roads. Picture: Andy Jones (7660338)
Year 3 pupils took MP Tom Tugendhat around Leybourne Chase to show off the dangers on local roads. Picture: Andy Jones (7660338)

"It was fantastic for the children, they're seven or eight years old and already they feel listened to."

Miss Clark's class first spotted problems during a geography lesson before Christmas.

She said: "We were learning about our environment and went on a walk outside the school.

Tom Tugendhat's visit to Valley Invicta Primary School, Leybourne Chase coincided with World Book Day. Picture: Andy Jones (7660337)
Tom Tugendhat's visit to Valley Invicta Primary School, Leybourne Chase coincided with World Book Day. Picture: Andy Jones (7660337)

"As a teacher I noticed how hard it was to cross the road in some places and the children who live on the estate said their parents don't like them going out as there aren't a lot of safe places to cross.

"It's not clear where the pavement ends in Derby Drive, so it is a dangerous place to cross.

"The class were amazing at getting their points across and asking questions as well."

Tom Tugendhat, Tonbridge and Malling's MP, said: "Parking and speeding make getting to Valley Invicta Primary School dangerous.

"Children, parents and staff are right to be worried about this. I’m pleased that roads are wider in the newer areas but this won’t help the southern part, near the school.

"Trinity Estates, who manage the development, along with Taylor Wimpey and eventually Kent County Council need to come up with a better way of managing parking. The number of children going to and from the school means that an accident is likely unless they find a better solution. It’s important this happens now.

"Of course all of this would have been avoided had the development provided adequate parking in the first place and I’m pleased that legislation has changed since then, as it’s something I’ve often raised as an issue on new developments, such as Milton Lane in Kings Hill and Medway Wharf Road in Tonbridge."

Matthew Shaw, head of operations at Trinity Estates, said: "Our management team for the estate will be communicating with our residents to promote careful driving in this area and will be contacting both Taylor Wimpey and Kent County Council to offer our support in helping to address this too."

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