Extra traffic wardens set to patrol near Leighton’s schools to tackle yellow line abuse

Illegal parking near Clipstone Brook Lower School
Illegal parking near Clipstone Brook Lower School

An under-fire council is upping the number of traffic wardens to tackle dangerous and illegal parking in Leighton Buzzard.

Central Beds Council recently installed additional road restrictions aimed at stopping thoughtless motorists creating a hazard outside numerous schools.

But the council, which says it is in the process of increasing the number of its district-wide civil enforcement officers from nine to 15, has come under attack for a lack of policing of the yellow lines which are being blatantly ignored by drivers.

Mum Leia Blakesley has taken to putting her son in a high-vis vest for the walk to Clipstone Brook Lower School.

She said: “Brooklands is a terrible road. My son and I nearly got run over on the corner of Brooklands and South Street. Cars mount the pavement to go round the corner.”

She said new yellow lines were being ignored and there were regular offenders, adding: “The lollipop lady has a number to call to alert the council, but when she does they don’t respond. It’s just inconsiderate parking and they don’t seem to know what the lines mean!”

Leia posted several photos to CBC and the police via twitter, but says no-one responded to her.

Another reader, Neil Cairns, told the LBO: “Central Beds has put down single and double yellow lines in Highfield Road and Brooklands Drive, in an attempt to stop the gridlock and blocked pavements by parents collecting and dropping off their children. It will remain to be seen if anyone actually enforces these parking restrictions as no-one has done so far of the existing ones that have been there for ten years (ie outside Leedon Lower)!”

A few days later Neil added: “Tuesday 3pm, no-one paid the slightest note of the new yellow lines, cars everywhere in Highfield Road and Brooklands Drive!”

Leighton Linslade Town Council’s partnership committee has been told by CBC how incorrect, faded or missing signage and markings had been making it difficult for CBC to enforce parking restrictions.

As a result a long list of works has been commissioned. The council has also pledged to develop an improved schools enforcement programme.

Last summer five CBC councillors were appointed to review parking issues outside of schools, particularly in light of the implications of school expansion, and come up with “cost neutral” recommendations.

Their findings which were discussed by the council’s Executive on April 4, included encouraging schools to produce travel plans, production of a school parking leaflet, 20mph signage and better signage of restrictions, enforcing parking restrictions “taking into account existing resources”.

Lower and primary schools should also be encouraged to allocate a designated member of staff to manage collection and drop off of children, and also work closely with the local community in order to maximise shared resources including utilising village hall car parks, local supermarkets.

A council report states: “The numbers of accidents, incidents and collisions around schools in Central Bedfordshire are relatively low at 25 incidents out of a total of 18,765 pupils. As a result the inquiry felt that the council’s current policy was effective in minimising risks and prioritising the safety of school children.

“There is no current policy in place in Central Bedfordshire with regards to parking enforcement outside of schools but breaches are prioritized on a case by case basis. The future appointment of an additional enforcement officer would enable a focus specifically on this area.”

Number of students (accidents): Leighton Middle 475 (4 slight injury), Brooklands 345 (1 slight injury), Linslade Academy 585 (2 slight injury), Cedars 1155 (2 slight injury).

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