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School run problems at King's and St Andrew's in Rochester

Some parents parking near two private schools have made life such a misery for one resident he is looking to move.

Simon Johnson says he has been faced with a barrage of abuse and offensive gestures from drivers who drop off and pick up from St Andrew's and King's schools in Rochester.

Video shows cars parked on double yellow lines

The businessman, of nearby Roebuck Road, says when he asked some to politely move their vehicles to enable him to get out they have refused and, at times, become aggressive.

The father-of-five, who has lived in the road for eight years, said the problem is so bad he is now house-hunting.

He said: "I understand children need to be dropped off, but they outstay their time and park on double yellows which is dangerous.

"They just don't care, they think they are above everyone else.

"I'm no Victor Meldrew and I'm not being elitist. Two of my children went to King's."

Cars parked on double yellow lines in Roebuck Road, Rochester
Cars parked on double yellow lines in Roebuck Road, Rochester

Ward councillor Stuart Tranter lives nearby and has been approached by many with the same complaints.

He said: "They show little or no consideration for residents and are only thinking of their own convenience.

"Some sit around and chat for about 30 minutes without realising the inconvenience they are causing.

"I've had some people in the road say they have missed meetings and appointments.

"They see one person doing it and think it's ok to do the same.

Cllr Stuart Tranter
Cllr Stuart Tranter

"Some locals complain they pay for residents' parking and can't park outside their homes."

Cllr Tranter is planning to meet representatives from the schools and council officers.

He is calling for drastic measures to solve the problem.

He said: "I don't think imposing residents' parking only would make a difference.

"And having an enforcement officer comes with a price tag as they have to monitor the whole of Medway. People would just take a chance.

"They just don't care, they think they are above everyone else..."

"I think the only way to tackle this is to impose a 30-minute road closure at each end of the day with residents only allowed access.

"To stop the problem spilling into other roads, I would suggest drop-off points where children can join a walking bus into the school.

"That way it would be healthier for the children to get exercise and fresh air, safer and better for the environment, as parents would not be able to wait in their cars with their engines running pumping out carbon monoxide."

Emma Steinmann-Gilbert, principal of St Andrew's in Watts Avenue, said: "We have been operating as a school for the last 70 years and while it is located in a residential area, the school does all it can to encourage parents to park safely.

"In addition to regular reminders being sent out, there are three members of the senior leadership team standing at the front of the school every day, in addition to a parent parking volunteer, who is visible in her hi-vis jacket.

St Andrew's School in Rochester
St Andrew's School in Rochester

"At the start of the year, Medway Council worked with the school to change the markings outside the front, providing a morning drop-off area, eliminating the need for many parents to find a parking space.

"A walking bus also normally operates during the morning; with pupils meeting in an area away from school.

"Any reports of incorrect parking are followed up on an individual basis with parents.

"As a school we do not have any jurisdiction over public roads, and we therefore advise residents to report illegal parking directly to Medway Council."

Tom Morgan, headmaster of King's Rochester Preparatory School, said: "We take the safety of pupils and its impact on the local community very seriously and we regret to hear about the issues faced by residents.

Tom Morgan, headmaster of King's Rochester Preparatory School (48586445)
Tom Morgan, headmaster of King's Rochester Preparatory School (48586445)

"The vast majority of parents who pick up and drop off their children, do so in a safe and considerate manner.

"Parking issues at drop off and pick up are common for many schools in residential areas and we regularly remind our parents to be considerate of the local community.

"The school operates a ‘walking bus’ for its youngest pupils, and, if possible, it would also help if more journeys could be made on foot.

"Since King’s welcomed pupils back after the lockdown period, we have received complaints from residents and our own parents regarding parking and the issues caused and we recognise the need to find solutions to the issue.

"As such, our newly-appointed director of operations has reached out to Medway Council so we can continue to work with our families and the council to improve this situation."

As reported in March, Cllr Tranter was the subject of a police complaint following an alleged altercation near King's. The investigation is still ongoing and the councillor denies wrongdoing.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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