Parent patrol ‘success story’ for school parking battle at Broke Hall Primary

Park Smart campaign

Park Smart campaign - Credit: Archant

A group of mothers have come together to turn a school parking nightmare into a “success story”.

Broke Hall Community Primary School was considered one of the worst in Ipswich with parents constantly creating a dangerous environment outside the school by parking on the double yellow and zig-zag lines.

Wendy Kinsbury, 43, who has an eight-year-old son attending the school, decided to take action after one of her friends, who is disabled, nearly had a fall during the “carnage” of drop-off time in September.

“Some parents were so angry that they were banging on the bonnet of a parked car and there was a child in there,” Mrs Kinsbury said.

She went to headteacher Jenny Barr’s office, followed by more distressed parents, and from that point steps have been taken to make the school safer, including three large banners being put up at the school gates, regular police patrols and ticketing of cars.

Mrs Kinsbury also decided to start a patrolling mission of her own outside the school, handing out leaflets and taking photos of offenders.

She is now joined by about 20 parents who guard Chatsworth Drive for half an hour in the morning and afternoon.

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“It’s a bit of a name and shame culture that we have got into,” Mrs Kinsbury said.

“We would have had a child killed this term had we not have done anything.”

The school has a carpark for staff and disabled people and has six parking spaces outside the school for parents.

Mrs Kinsbury said there were about 30 parents fighting for those six spaces every morning and they would circle the area until they got a spot.

“When we first started the tension between parents was awful, there was swearing and shouting in front of children and parents,” she added.

Patrol member Emma Stewart, 38, said the group were deemed “an aggressive vigilante” by other parents. “After six weeks of our combined efforts there is a massive difference; we average only five illegally and dangerously parked cars in the mornings and a little less in the afternoons.”

One of the mums on the patrol, Tina Sallows-Dixon, 42, said it was a success story.

Their next steps are to push for speed signs and bumps, repainted yellow lines, and to get the school onto Suffolk County Council’s road safety education scheme for children in primary schools.

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