We’re furious after shameless parents cause chaos and park inches from DOORS – but they blast our 'intimidating' tactics | The Sun

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LOCALS are raging over drivers who cause chaos by parking inches from their doors.

Parents who have kids at Wingham Primary School in Kent though have hit back, saying they are being intimidated.



It’s claimed shameless parents are refusing to stop parking in the village hall's private carpark when picking up their kids – despite “putting lives at risk” by even dumping their car inside the hall's entrance.

Exasperated committee members of the village hall called out parents' “dangerous” parking on Facebook on September 11, despite seven signs plastered across the venue demanding they stop.

They shamed “unsafe” parkers with shocking snaps showing several cars dumped across double yellow lines and “keep clear” road markings – and a white Suzuki even blocking the hall's main door.

The committee claims the parking “chaos” could have “life-threatening consequences” by blocking the main door – and therefore “preventing emergency evacuations of children” or “paramedics from reaching casualties”.

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However their post was met with fury from parents of children at Wingham Primary School – many of whom refused to see the potential dangers and brazenly proclaimed they would continue to park at the hall.

The row – which has been building for “years” – escalated when parents accused the village hall committee members of taking “aggressive” measures to block their cars on the afternoon of September 1.

Stacie Garside, 36-year-old a business owner from Littlebourne, lives five miles away from the school of her four and six-year-old children and says she will “continue to park” at the village hall – saying there is “no alternative”.

Dad Dudley Ross, who is a freelance guitarist hailed by Sir Paul McCartney as “great”, also publicly declared that he would continue to park there until there is a safe alternative.

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One resident named Simon Willis felt compelled to issue another public post showing the multiple signs at the hall declaring “This car park is Village Hall property. NO UNAUTHORISED USE”.

Simon said in the Facebook post: "I notice in some of the comments that some have not noticed the signs in the Wingham Village Hall car park.

"I have lived here 45 years and they have been there as long as I can remember.

"I would also like to congratulate all those who walk their children to school which considerably reduces the CO2 emissions and promotes fitness and health."

ROW BETWEEN LOCALS AND PARENTS

However the post sparked a row amongst angry local and parents of pupils at the nearby school who were quick to hit back at Simon for overlooking the "dangerous" nearby main road – which some parents claim stops "safe school drop-offs".

Mum-of-two Stacie said: "I can't walk to school, so I always get there early and I park respectfully. I don't understand the issue.

"They want people to park further down in Wingham, but you're not guaranteed a space.

"And you don't have a zebra crossing on the main road that's busy all day and night. There is no other safe access.

"I could fully understand if it was teenagers or young drivers playing loud music and smoking but everyone is sitting there nicely, waiting for their kids to come. 15 minutes later they're gone."

Wingham Village Committee said in their online comment: "The notable issues have been steadily increasing each year and we are now seeing an unprecedented amount of car park users.

"One of the main issues are primary school parents using the Village Hall's 'private' carpark for dropping off and collecting their children.

"This has led to users of the hall being unable to park and neighbouring properties being denied access to their own properties.[…]

"As you can see from the photos, these are some of the challenges we are currently facing.

'SAFETY' ISSUES

"The safety of children, residents and hall users is of paramount importance and these few examples demonstrate a blatant disregard for the safety of others with potentially life threatening consequences.

"For example preschool children and hall users would have been unable to evacuate via the main door which opens outwards and emergency services would have difficulty accessing the site and reaching any casualties."

Dad-of-two Paul Wells, a travel agent who lives two miles away from Wingham, claims he leaves his car on a side road when dropping his kids off but defends those who want to park closer and use the hall.

'DANGEROUS'

He has criticised Kent County Council for the lack of school transport services in the area – saying he 'can understand why parents won't stop' parking at the village hall as the alternative is 'fraught with danger'.

Paul said: "I park on a side road and we walk to school, but I can count four or five occasions where cars have gone straight through the level crossing as they've not known it's there.

"I get why people – especially with younger children – would want to park closer. It's dangerous."

The 55-year-old says the school bus service from surrounding villages to Wingham, where his nine-year-old son goes to school, is being 'phased out' due to financial cuts – and is only available to siblings of those already signed up to the service.

Paul added: "It still runs to this day, but all new children are unable to get any transport to school. No buses come through our village either. We can't walk or cycle – it's a narrow country road where cars fly down at 50 mph. The only option is to drive."

Guitarist and composer Dudley Ross commented: "Until there's a safe alternative, I'm parking there. We nearly got run over trying to cross the main road, it's not safe at all."

Until there's a safe alternative, I'm parking there. We nearly got run over trying to cross the main road, it's not safe at all

Another added: "If I'm able to, I park along the road by the church and it's very dangerous to navigate without a zebra crossing with a five-year-old pupil and two-year-old.

"Unless you arrive 30 minutes before we have to park at the village hall, I always try to park considerably and avoid the pavements.

"It really is only a half an hour window that people may need to park in 'prohibited' spaces in the village hall.

"We just want to drop our children off safely and on time. Some understanding would be appreciated."

However, several group members disagreed. One resident who lives close to the village hall commented: "School Lane and the car park are not built for the current amount of traffic.

"I am a great supporter of the primary school but a lot of the comments from parents claiming that it is their right to drop their kids off right in front of the door stun me.

"A lot of them forget that if anything goes wrong the village hall is liable and the way some parents have behaved almost causing accidents this is a valid concern."

DRIVEWAY 'DESTROYED'

The committee also says the "obstruction" and "congestion" caused by parents using the hall's car park prevents nearby householders from accessing their own homes – with one resident claiming their driveway was "destroyed" by "arrogant idiots bumping over the curb".

A spokesperson from Wingham Village Committee said: "This is a private car park with 24 spaces, clearly signed and accessed via a narrow lane. Residents adjacent to the hall have one access road via the car park.

"Vehicles are being parked on areas clearly designated as Keep Clear or double yellow lines. This leads to obstruction for other vehicles and increases congestion.

"Access routes from the building are obstructed should an emergency situation arise – and access for emergency services is prohibited."

Others called out the Village Hall committee for using 'intimidating' tactics to resolve the parking issues on September 1 – claiming committee members were 'blocking cars' and 'taking photos of cars and children'.

Stacie added: "They were being really aggressive and getting in people's faces. One man stopped cars from getting into the car park so no one could get in or out – and you had children walking in between the cars. It was madness.

"My daughter started reception that morning. Some kids started school for the first ever time. And parents were just trying to get their kids to school safely.

"My kids both went to preschool at the village hall and we've been to plenty of children's parties there. They're happy to take the money when you rent the hall or send your children there – but as soon as you're out, they don't want you there."

A group member commented: "The way these people conducted themselves was shameful and intimidating. One man was standing in front of a woman's car shouting at her to leave. It's a disgrace!

"And taking photos of each car as they enter the car park and then lying and telling people they were 'just looking' is utterly pathetic.

"That in itself is nothing short of intimidating!"

The committee spokesperson responded: "Only photographs of inconsiderate parking have been taken. At no point were photographs of children taken by [the hall].

"We are actively seeking a resolution and will welcome dialogue with outside agencies to resolve the situation for the benefit of all concerned."

A Kent County Council spokesperson said: "The safety of everyone that interacts with our roads is a top priority for this council.

"We have worked with the parish council to deliver road improvements in the area, including a 20mph zone along the A257 Canterbury Road to encourage drivers to reduce their speed.

"Our team will continue to work with the local community to understand the issues residents face and investigate what further measures can be put in place where necessary."

A spokesperson for Dover District Council said: "Wingham Village Hall Car Park is a private car park that comes under the Wingham Village Hall Committee.

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"For more information on school transport services and highways matters, please see Kent County Council."

The Sun Online has contacted Wingham Primary School for comment.



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