Committee plea over ‘dangerous parking’

From left, Coun David Bawn, Coun Alison Byard, Steven Johnson and John Henderson.
From left, Coun David Bawn, Coun Alison Byard, Steven Johnson and John Henderson.

A group that looks at ways of making the routes to Morpeth’s high and middle schools safer has issued a fresh appeal to the parents and carers who are causing concern with their parking.

The Three Rivers Road Safety Committee has been meeting on a quarterly basis for about three years.

Its membership includes school staff, parents, local residents, town and county councillors, county council highways and school crossing staff and police officers.

Progress has been made in many areas following its recommendations and it played a part in the recruitment of additional school crossing patrol officers, who stop traffic in order to allow children and adults to cross a road.

But despite this and the reminders issued by Chantry and Newminster Middle Schools and Technology Colleges, there are still some people causing problems when they drop their child off and/or pick them up.

School crossing patrol officer John Henderson covers Mitford Road, near the entrance to the middle schools.

He said: “The majority of parents who drive their child to and from school are respectful and will park in a safe place. However, there are some who park by or on the path near the entrance – they are ignoring the signs that the schools have put in place saying ‘parking here could endanger a child’s life’.

“Many pupils walking to and from Chantry and Newminster need to cross Mitford Road and measures have been introduced with these children in mind, so it’s frustrating that this minority are making it more difficult to be seen by stopping their cars in such irresponsible places.

“I’ve also seen a few parents letting their child out on the road.”

The measures on Mitford Road have included parking restrictions to keep space clear for school buses and coaches and bollards.

In addition, a drop-off point has been established at nearby Morpeth Rugby Club.

Head of school at Chantry, Steven Johnson, said he saw the signs designed by the THINK! organisation being advertised and The Three Rivers academy agreed to purchase a few of them.

The three schools encourage walking or cycling to school from the town centre and they remind pupils to use school crossing patrol officers to cross roads.

Morpeth town councillor Alison Byard said: “We don’t want to be obstructive, we’re simply thinking of our children’s safety and the dangerous parking by this minority puts other children at risk, as well as their own.”

Other initiatives include driver awareness courses for Sixth Form students at King Edward VI School and student training for bus behaviour.

Morpeth North county councillor David Bawn said that the local authority is currently examining potential measures for the Cottingwood Lane approach to KEVI given the increase in vehicles going along this road and this could lead to consultation with residents on potential solutions.

For more information about the committee and if you are interested in joining it, email chairman Mark Tait – mark.tait@the3rivers.net