CCTV car snares hundreds of drivers in fight against parking danger at schools

The camera enforcement car is greeted by pupils at Broomhill Junior School, Hucknall, with Coun Steve Calvert, of Nottinghamshire County Council, and  enforcement manager Gareth Johnson in the drivers' seat. (PHOTO BY: Anne Shelley)
The camera enforcement car is greeted by pupils at Broomhill Junior School, Hucknall, with Coun Steve Calvert, of Nottinghamshire County Council, and enforcement manager Gareth Johnson in the drivers' seat. (PHOTO BY: Anne Shelley)
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A new road-safety car, fitted with CCTV cameras, has already snared hundreds of drivers parking dangerously or inconsiderately outside schools and at bus stops in Hucknall and the rest of the county.

In its first ten months of operation, from March to December last year, the car’s surveillance work resulted in a total of 612 penalty-charge notices being issued to motorists, who were duly fined.

The startling figures were revealed when the camera enforcement vehicle made a special visit to Broomhill Junior School and Butler’s Hill Infant and Nursery School School in Hucknall this week.

The car was commissioned by Nottinghamshire County Council in response to a stream of complaints across the county about drivers, including parents dropping off or picking up their schoolchildren, parking recklessly outside school gates, blocking access, obscuring safety signs and creating dangerous congestion.

The council wanted to use the vehicle to help enforce ‘Keep Clear’ markings outside schools, and also at bus stops. A spokesman said: “Parents who park on such markings can seriously jeopardise road safety for children, and this is a significant source of complaints and requests for parking enforcement.”

During its ten months of operation, the CCTV car has patrolled all seven districts of the county on at least three occasions, and has received 100 requests from schools, including in Hucknall, to monitor parking problems at their sites.

Andrew Beckinsale-Yates, the head teacher of Broomhill Junior School on Broomhill Road, said: “Any initiative that helps to improve road safety for our school and local community is to be welcomed.

“We are a fast-growing school with 240 pupils and, with the infant school and children’s centre also on site, we can have 500 children, parents, carers and staff in the vicinity of Broomhill Road during school opening and closing times. So it can get very busy and present parking difficulties for people.”

Melinda Amos, head teacher at neighbouring Butler’s Hill Infants’, said: “We do everything we can to promote road safety, and it was great for some of the children to see this CCTV car when it visited this week and to learn more about it.”

The county council’s committee chairman for transport and highways, Coun Kevin Greaves, said: “This car is part of our commitment to road safety around schools in the county and it is helping to address the problems of dangerous parking.

“We are encouraged by the demand we have had from schools and parents, who have got in touch, asking for the car to visit. At some schools, we have also introduced 20mph speed zones.”

MOTORISTS who fall foul of Nottinghamshire County Council’s CCTV enforcement car outside schools and at bus stops can expect to be fined up to £70.

That’s the cost of the penalty-charge notice already issued to 612 drivers. The fine is reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days.

Of the 612 notices, 380 were for parking on school markings and obstructing visibility for other drivers, while 232 were for parking at bus stops, potentially blocking or preventing a bus from stopping there and causing congestion.

All money generated by the notices go towards paying for the CCTV car, its equipment, driver and software. The vehicle is currently operating at a slight loss, but the council hopes it will soon become self-funding.