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CHILDREN'S safety is being put at risk by irresponsible parents who park and drive dangerously when collecting their youngsters from school, according to police.

They say that several children have almost been hit by reversing cars after parents drop their children off at College Town infant and junior schools in Bullfinch Close.

The consistent problem of hazardous parking has caused great concern to the headteachers, who have sent numerous letters to parents, demanding more considerate parking and driving.

But the letters appear to have fallen on deaf ears and now police and Sandhurst town councillors are looking at imposing parking restrictions.

PC Mick Tricker, of Crowthorne police, was called in by the headteacher of College Town Junior School to investigate the problem.

He said: "I have been down to view the problems of parking at the front and back of the schools.

"On Bullfinch Close, there is a problem with parents taking their vehicles right up to the front of the gate and then reversing out again. But because there is no pathway there have been a number of incidents where children have come close to being knocked down by a vehicle.

"I had a meeting with Cllr Bob Edger of Sandhurst Town Council and it was decided he would follow up the possib-ility of imposing parking restrictions with the council, for an hour in the morning and afternoon to eliminate the danger."

Speaking last Thursday, Cllr Edger urged more parents to leave their cars at home and walk to school.

He said: "I have seen an officer at the council to discuss imposing parking restrictions during the schools' starting and finishing times.

"The council are now looking into it and I have been sent a School Travel Plan which outlines traffic-calming measures, which I will be discussing with the headteachers.

"The intention is to cut down parking in Bullfinch Close but it would help if people who live nearby the school travelled on foot — why they have to drive right up to the gate is beyond me.

"There are some people who drive their cars when they only live a few hundred yards away — it seems common sense to walk.

"I think anything people can do for the benefit of the environment and the children's safety would help — and it would certainly benefit exercise.

"We must understand some people need to use their cars but those who don't really should walk."

Nigel Duncan, headteacher of College Town Junior School, said: "The vast majority of parents are very supportive of the school's initiative to keep the schools' exit and entrance safe but, unfortunately, there are a minority who are putting children at risk.

"The school is working with the police and council to eradicate this problem and we are constantly reminding parents and looking at other initiatives such as walking to school."

PC Tricker commented that there was a similar danger at Owlsmoor Primary School on the junction between Church Road and Cambridge Road. Parents have been reported abandoning their cars, making visibility difficult for other motorists and putting children in danger.

It is hoped that this problem will be resolved by the council, following police discussions with Cllr David Worrall.


Charlotte Neal
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