Parents urged to halt school-run mayhem before child is killed

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FEARS have been raised that a child will be killed unless parents and drivers change their ways and bring an end to the school-run mayhem that blights Hucknall.

A meeting of the town’s area consultative group heard that dozens of cars pull up outside schools between 8.30 am and 9.30 am and 3 pm and 4 pm, causing traffic gridlock.

Particular hotspots include Bishops Way and the area around neighbouring Holy Cross Roman Catholic and Leen Mills Primary Schools on Leen Mills Lane.

But the problem is causing chaos and concern at every school across the town.

Now Coun Ian Morrison (Lab), a Hucknall member of Ashfield District Council, has declared: “Before long, a child is going to come running out between parked vehicles and get knocked down. What price can we put on a child’s life? My concerns are solely for the safety of children and making sure they get to school on time and in one piece.”

A call has been made for Notts County Council, which is in charge of highways, to take a more proactive approach to dealing with road safety around schools.

Already it has paid for a crossing on Linby Road to allow parents to park at Hucknall Leisure Centre and walk through to Leen Mills and Holy Cross.

It has also considered extending double-yellow lines and parking restrictions around the town.

But Coun Mick Murphy (Con), of Hucknall, who is Notts County Council’s lead member for community safety, admits he has “scratched his head” and cannot come up with a winning answer to the problem.

“It is about educating parents,” he told the Dispatch. “People say this is an accident waiting to happen — and they are right. Inevitably someone is going to get seriously hurt.

“Parents seem immune to double-yellow lines. They are risking the lives of their children and other youngsters. If anyone can come up with an idea, I am willing to listen.”

A previous Dispatch front-page story likened school drop-off times to ‘running the gauntlet’.

Heavy parking also causes problems for householders who cannot get their cars off driveways.

Hucknall’s police chief, Insp Nick Butler, said: “I dropped my little boy off at school this week, and a car mounted the kerb near us. I had to have a word with the driver. It is a problem.

“When people are in a rush, they become blinkered to everything else and can fall into bad habits.

“The police have a role to play when it comes to making sure people are safe. The responsibility is initially with the school to speak to parents and make it clear where they can and cannot park.

“It then falls on the council to carry out parking enforcement and give out fines. Where that doesn’t work, we will go out and take action.

“The police have a role to play, but it is important everyone else steps up to the plate. That includes children, who also need to be made aware of how to stay safe. The amount of children you see just running out into the roads is frightening.”

Coun John Wilmott (Lab), a Hucknall member of Ashfield Council, said he was involved in several initiatives, including a walk-to-school scheme for Holy Cross and Leen Mills schools.