Loughton School : an observation of the morning school run

The Parish Council recently received a complaint from a local resident about school drop off parking.

The resident complained :-

“The bends on Bradwell Road heading towards Linceslade Grove are generally parked up on both sides – gridlock ensued last week when a lorry was heading towards the School!

The car parks on either side of Bradwell Road are regarded by a not inconsiderable few as a second choice to parking on the pavements either side of the car parks, presumable to give a quicker getaway than the car parks. On Monday drop off there were around a dozen free parking spaces and yet four cars parked on the pavement. I have heard anecdotal complaint that when PCSOs / PCs have been at the school they have merely observed – no education and certainly no tickets. “

We discussed the problem in the full Parish Council meeting on Monday 16th October 2017 and I proposed to go down to observe the problem.

I chose the morning of Thursday 19th October because the weather forecast was for rain around the morning school drop off time and therefore I expected to see the problem at its worst.

I arrived at about 8.15am and stood near the junction of Bradwell Road where it meets Ashpole Furlong/Paynes Drive. The school gates open at about 8.30am, the doors or the school open at 8.40am and I think school starts around 8.50am.

It was cloudy and there was very light drizzle. It was quite grey so most cars still had their lights on as it seemed dark and gloomy.

From 8.15am until about 8.35am my impression was everything was going quite ok. The traffic was busy and moving with lots of bicycles, pedestrians and cars. It was busy but not gridlocked. There were lots of children of all ages making their way to Loughton and Denbigh schools. Some were on their own, some with parents, and some accompanied by young pre-school siblings.

At 8.35am, things noticeably changed and there was then what I would describe as a “mad 10 minutes”. A number of cars started to park on the pavement around the car park areas near where I was standing (on Bradwell Rd near the j/w Paynes Drive). One car parked on the zig zag lines in Paynes Drive

A Mercedes parked on the pavement – rather than using the car park – potentially forcing pedestrians into the road

A Nissan parking on the zig zag lines near Paynes Drive

A VW parked on the pavement – outside the car park

The owner of a BMW parked on the pavement outside the car park also. I offered the driver a leaflet from the Parish Council asking drivers to be considerate, which she initially refused to take. She was busy accompanying her daughter into the school and verbally abused me in front of her young child.

Another driver had parked right on the junction of Bradwell Rd and Ashpole Furlong – part on the pavement. When I spoke to that driver and pointed out that he was both blocking the pavement and creating a potential hazard for pedestrians crossing the road, and might be better to use the vacant space in the car park, he informed me he had paid his car tax and was therefore entitled to park where he liked!

By 8.50am the “moment of madness” had passed and serenity resumed.

My overall impression was that the complaint made by the resident about the parking of parents of the school making the drop-off was entirely justified. It seems parents were arriving at school at the last moment and trying to drop off their children in a great hurry and were not willing to try to consider parking in the car park but felt entitled to park on the pavements and/or close to the junctions. They seemed to be so focused on trying to do the school run in the minimum time that they were not really thinking about the safety of pedestrians, including particularly vulnerable road users, and young children.

It might help if some “no parking on the pavement” boards were erected just before the school run as well as some signs reminding parents of the importance of enabling young children to get to school and home safe and sound.

I will be passing on these observations to the management of the School and to the local traffic enforcement authorities at MK Council and Thames Valley Police. Lets hope together we can keep our children safe and avoid any serious injuries and accidents occurring.







Parking restrictions in Loughton

On Friday 21st September I met Richard Duffill, the MK Council officer responsible for managing the parking restrictions in Loughton

There have been confusion over the extension of parking restrictions to virtually the whole of the Loughton area.

The planned extension had run into trouble after a lack of consultation and implementation had been halted.

I met Richard with fellow parish councillors Andy Lovett and Andy Dransfield (the latter also a ward councillor at MK Council.

We had a useful discussion and the outcome was that the planned extension will be largely scrapped but we will consult over two proposed options for extension of the original parking restrictions south along Linceslade Grove

Hopefully in future the parish council will be the first port of call for consultation of MK Council officers.


The result of the online parish survey

We promised to publish on the website the results of the online 2012 parish survey which was advertised with the precept leaflets.

An anonymised version of the closed questions is now available here:-

Parish survey

The answers given to the open answers were interesting.

The planning issues mentioned were:-

  1. Parking needs to be banned around the Harvester
  2. Conservation of the “village” areas
  3. Protecting green space Slow broadband Huge amount of speed bumps
  4. Parking adequacy Pressure on remaining green space Removal or major pruning of mature trees Traffic turning right on to grid roads
  5. Too many houses being rented out. Lack of public transport across Loughton. Car parking.
  6. School parking Potential station parking issues
  7. Potential over-development and agreement to over-sized houses in comparison to plot size

The answers given to the question about “major issues in the area” were

  1. Cars parking on London Road near the Harvester, often illegally on the bend 
  2. Noise Nuisnace from Daytona Raceway Parking scheme no longer in operation
  3. Street lights obscured by trees that need to be trimed. Leaves and small branches laying on the road making it difficult to walk safely
  4. Dangerous slippery corner Church Lane / Bradwell Road. In winter, water drains out of gardens over the sloping pavement and turns to a thin sheet of ice. No pavement on west side of Bradwell Road, forcing all pedestrians to navigate this slippery area. 
  5. Parking at the bail hostel (including delivery vehicles and vehicles used by contractors), Parking on pedestrian pavements. Lack of footpaths where people actually walk or use powered mobility equipments (e.g. from redway on east side of Watling Street to pavements in Haddon and Highgrove HIll and from underpass from Loughton to the fire station across the fire station site to Haddon or Waddesdon Close) – there will be a serious accident due to this in Highgrove Hill soon and someone will be injured when they fall scrambling over the brook in Waddesdon Close. Parking at Hilltops Medical Centre – I have given up trying to park here as the disabled bays are regularly abused and the slope makes the free spaces further down no use to me in my wheelchair – I now use the surgery at Broughton Gate.
  6. Litter Redway surfaces 
  7. Park area for smaller children
  8. parking

And as for what residents would like done about this; they said :

  1. Double yellow lines outside, and 100 metres either side of The Harvester 
  2. Review and amend licence for Daytona. Carry out the proper consultation or complete parking scheme signage
  3. Put pressure on the council to deal with both of these safety hazzards.
  4. Increase drainage / change pavement surfacing 
  5. Provide a parking plan for the bail hostel with designated bays created opposite and parking banned on the bail hostel side of the road. A parking ban on pavements with enforcement. Provide new footpaths where required. Parking regulations for all public car parks in the parish preventing all day parking by staff and ensuring adequate and enforced disabled bays.
  6. Place more bins to collect rubbish Impose fines for dropping litter Resurface the worst redway surfaces
  7. the Sports field alongside the sports club park is very small and often unusable due to broken and often messy play area, Being a local resident for many years and a long standing childcare provider of over 20years i feel loughton play areas has been forgotten. I along with other childcare providers have now resorted to using the new play area in great hom or will travel by car to Oxley Park or Medbourne for the children to be able to play safely. Surely with the parish havig two well established schools a play area would be an added assat to the residents and visiters to Loughton. 
  8. If the proposed parking restrictions come into force, they will solve many issues. The school issue could be solved by changing the morning restriction to 8:30 to 9:30
  9. note that the cost of emptying dog hygiene bins is the parish council’s major expenditure item. I would like to see dog owners asked to contribute to this service

In answer to the question what changes would most improve the neighbourhood :-

  1. Parking 
  2. Increase the conservation area to include all of the village area 
  3. Clearing of weeds and rubish in the brook in Waddesdon Close. 
  4. Cleaning the streets and clearing the rubbish 
  5. More grit boxes at places where they could be used to the advantage of the residents not the council. As a childcare provider and who lives in a close at the bottom of a small hill both neighbours and parents alike are not able to exit or enter. 
  6. Move Millenium Meadow to the plot opposite the middle school and change current Millenium Meadow to allotments 
  7. More frequent trimming of hedges alongside footpaths and pavements.

What do residents most like about the neighbourhood?

  1. Prestige 
  2. Feels like a village community 
  3. Very quiet 
  4. The lakes, the brook, the old buildings 
  5. Quiet, safe and pleasant. Near CMK and station. Adequate bus service for care staff.
  6. Open spaces
  7. Friendly and “Village like” people looking out for each other, happy neighbourhood. 
  8. Peaceful
  9. The amount of green open spaces and parkland. The current density of housing.

And what they least liked :-

  1. Parking on the road near the Harvester 
  2. Almost constant development in the area particulary resulting in noise nuisance and mud on road and pavements.
  3. Cars parked everywhere. The lack of neighbourliness that the bail hostel appears to have.
  4. Rubbish strewn everywhere 
  5. No parks for the children of the village to play safely.
  6. High turnover of tenants thus preventing any sense of neighbourliness and responsibility for the area in which they live.
  7. Inconsiderate road users when collecting children from either school. The roads are usually difficult to negotiate and while I try to avoid the school run it is sometimes not possible. I feel for the bus drivers. Could we have a half hourly bus service? 
  8. The lack of parking spaces associated with houses causing certain streets to be clogged with parked cars.