Yellow lines in place by Leighton Buzzard school but enforcement stalls over belated consultation on safety changes

Parking enforcement action is needed by a Leighton Buzzard school once the details of a traffic scheme for the area have been legally approved, a meeting heard.

Work was done on the highways project, near Greenleas Lower School, only for Central Bedfordshire Council to realise the changes had not been fully advertised.

Greenleas School in Kestrel Way

Greenleas School in Kestrel Way

Traffic orders, such as introducing no waiting restrictions with yellow lines, have to be fully consulted on by law, including adverts placed in local newspapers.

After the development of the new school in Kestrel Way, concerns were raised about parking, accessibility for buses and general safety in a busy area, according to a report to CBC’s traffic management meeting.

“The scheme in its entirety aimed to make the general area close to the school safer,” said the report.

“Areas where parking was inconsiderate, causing danger to vulnerable road users and limiting the flow of traffic at school times, were to be addressed by limited waiting restrictions and junction protection,” it added.

“An area directly outside the school in Kestrel Way was left free from restrictions as it was considered some parking provision should remain.”

Only once a traffic regulation order is made can any parking restrictions be enforced.

“The proposals retrospectively advertised here are to work with raised tables in Kestrel Way and Johnson Drive in Leighton Buzzard,” said the council’s area technician highways Charlotte Dunham.

“We realised the statutory consultation had not taken place for the double yellow lines and single yellow lines in the vicinity of the lower school in Kestrel Way.

“We installed them on site and then we had to retrospectively advertise them.

“Unfortunately this is not the correct process, but to save abortive costs we have installed them and done the consultation afterwards.

“The idea of that was if we got any major comments we would look to reduce the lines as part of the consultation,” she explained.

“The lines have been on site and have been working, and we have not received any major comments.”

But Catherine Farenden, from the council’s parking team, said: “When I received this order through with the map there are no zig zag markings.

“As part of a wider consideration for CBC, we’ve consulted with highways to make sure every school has full ‘keep clear’ markings outside the premises.

“With this location it doesn’t make sense to me why there should be double yellow lines directly at the junction by the entrance to the school.

“The single yellow line should be mirrored on the other side of the road, otherwise you will get cars parked there up to the junction of the school.

“If you put single yellow lines on both sides of the road it allows for pick-up and drop-off, but no waiting,” she added.

“We would have to log vehicles in for four or five minutes and, if they haven’t moved in that time, we would issue penalty charge notices (PCNs).

“It would allow disabled drivers to park for three hours, and allow loading and unloading.”

The council’s area technician highways replied: “I can’t speak for the exact history of this because it’s a scheme which has been going since 2016/17.

“The designs were already done when I came on the scene. That’s something we could perhaps go back and speak to the design team about.

“We left a space to allow people to park at school drop-off and pick-off times, with a single yellow line on the opposite side to allow traffic to flow through.

“The area where we have left the single yellow line out is on the side of the school, so that children can get out of vehicles without crossing the road.”

Conservative Arlesey councillor Ian Dalgarno said: “The difficulty we have is everything has been put down and we picked this up afterwards.

“In the letters, the feedback and the consultation concerns have been raised about the enforcement and a lack of it.

“My thoughts on this are to move it as laid out. What I would like from the highways officers is a further report to look at the implementation of zig-zags.

“That’s so we get the outside of that school compliant with our other schools,” added councillor Dalgarno, who chairs the traffic management meetings.

“Then we do a review of the area so that if we need to do other things we can do those as well.

“Once we’ve got the traffic regulation order sealed, I would like officers to look at the level of enforcement being implemented in this area.

“When we’ve got it sealed that gives us the opportunity to do that properly.

“I think the public need to see we are taking action.”