Flower power solution to problem pavement parkers

FLOWER power could help solve the issue of problem parkers near two Ponteland schools.

Complaints about cars parking along Thornhill Road and on pavements when taking pupils to and from Richard Coates Middle School and Ponteland First School intensified when the first school moved from North Road to a site next to the middle school in 2007.

Since then they have worked closely with Northumberland County Council and Ponteland North member Richard Dodd to try to get parents to stop further away from their premises in order to relieve congestion and improve safety.

Coun Dodd has spent £20,000 from his small schemes allowance on yellow lines, new parking bays for elderly residents in the neighbouring bungalows and a new zebra crossing.

And the education side of the campaign has had some success as the majority of parents are going elsewhere.

But Coun Dodd says there are about 20 people still causing problems, which also includes irresponsible driving, and he recently met the schools, highways chiefs and concerned parents to discuss what else can be done.

“I would like an extension of the yellow lines and another idea is to put some planters on the pavement and fill them with flowers,” he said.

“As well as stopping the irresponsible drivers from parking on the pavement, they will also make the area look nicer.

“The schools and Cowell’s Garden Centre have shown an interest in maintaining the flowers so if the price is right with the officers we can move forward on this.

“It is very frustrating that these drivers, who I believe do not live around here, continue to abuse our village with their inconsiderate parking and bad driving, such as making dangerous u-turns and using the bus lane.

“They refuse to listen to our advice and I think they would drive right to the classroom if they could.”

Police have warned that anyone seen by officers parking illegally in Thornhill Road will receive a fixed penalty notice.

In a joint statement, Headteacher of Ponteland First School Lynn Blain and Headteacher of Richard Coates Middle School Paul Rusby said: “We work closely together on many matters and we have worked collaboratively to improve traffic issues around our school site with Coun Dodd, Northumberland County Council, local businesses, Northumbria Police, local residents and parents.

“We are very grateful to the majority of parents who now park away from Thornhill Road, which is helping ensure pupil safety as they access our school site.

“We continue to encourage all parents to park with consideration for local residents and the safety of our school communities.”