Concerns have been raised that parents are parking ‘dangerously’ outside schools during drop-off and pick-up times in Reading.

Recently, the council’s Parking Services Annual Report 2021/2022 was published, which contains data on fines and amounts raised through permits and council car parks.

The report also contains information about parking rules, with parking on ‘School Keep Clear’ road markings and yellow lines being an offence that the council can prosecute.

These offences are typically enforced by the council’s army of parking officers.

The report was presented to councillors on the traffic management sub committee.

During discussion of the report, councillor John Ennis (Labour, Southcote) brought up the issue of parents parking inconsiderately near schools.

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Cllr Ennis said: “Some parents are parking not only inappropriately and not very respectively, but rather dangerously outside some of our schools.”

He then asked what the council’s parking enforcers could due to prevent such dangerous parking.

Replying to his question, Helen Allan, the council’s parking services manager, said: “As a parking services manager and also as a mother of four, the school run traffic drives me slightly mad!

“It’s really difficult to enforce around schools, because a lot of parents will just drive away as soon as they see the civil enforcement officer approaching, which is frustrating.

“But what we can do is increase the number of cameras we’ve got for the school zigzag markings.

“There’s not an enormous amount of those across Reading at the moment it is something that can be increased.”

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Helen Allen added that the council’s parking enforcement contract is coming to an end, and a requirement in the new contract will be that more enforcement takes place around schools at peak times.

She also told councillors that officers are working with schools to educate parents about where it is appropriate and inappropriate to park.

Helen Allen said: “I’d rather educate people and they don’t do it, than issue ticket after ticket after ticket.”

Cllr Ennis was specifically referring to parents parking inconsiderately in Silchester Road to get to Southcote Primary School.

Reading Chronicle: Southcote Primary School in Silchester Road, with keep clear and no stopping signs. Credit: Google MapsSouthcote Primary School in Silchester Road, with keep clear and no stopping signs. Credit: Google Maps

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, cllr Ennis said: “I’ve had the most complaints about parents parking outside drives and garages for Southcote Primary.

“It’s difficult, some people say ‘look it’s a school, get over it, it’s 30 minutes twice a day.

“But others are getting their driveways and garages. I’ve seen it myself and it is a problem.”

Drivers who are caught in breach of parking rules are dealt penalty charge notices (PCNs).

A total of 348 PCNs were served to drivers who parked  in a restricted area outside a school in 2021/22.

Of those, 255 were issued after drivers were caught stopping where ‘School Keep Clear’ zigzag markings are present, using the councils CCTV enforcement car.

The car is officially called an ‘approved device’, and is also used for catching out those stopping along Reading’s red route.

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The remaining 93 PCNs issued for parking in a restricted area outside a school were issued by parking officers.

The figures were presented to the council’s traffic management sub-committee on January 12.

Three schools in Reading have permanent ‘school streets’ where the street the school is on has a temporary road closure at drop off and pick up times.

‘School Streets’ require volunteers and the consent of the school to operate.

Schools can apply for the scheme on the council website.