27 February 2024

Local resident concerned for children’s safety outside St. Mark’s school

A local resident has reached out to Cllr Al Bayliss to express his concerns about parents who park on the yellow zig-zag keep clear lines and double yellow lines at St. Mark’s school.

Dr Jimmy Walker asked for Cllr Bayliss’ assistance in tackling the issue after he became concerned for the children’s safety because of the behaviour of some drivers.

Dr Walker is a Bikeability instructor for the school and noticed while running cycling courses for St Mark’s School that the yellow zig-zag lines are very faded and were being ignored by some parents.

“Parents had informed Dr Walker that some of the drivers had become abusive when asked to be more considerate. This has left other parents and school staff at their wit’s end, fearful for their children’s safety,” explained Cllr Bayliss.

“These lines are covered by Highway Code Rule 243 and after reporting the incidents to the Police we have been informed that enforcement is down to the local authority, Wiltshire Council, not the police. 

“I have reported the road marking issue to Wiltshire Council through their MyWilts app and Jimmy has also asked Wiltshire Road Safety for their assistance, along with writing to the Wiltshire Police & Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson,” he added.

Responding to the concerns, Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, the Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Transport, said, “Following a request from a member of the public, the Area Highways team have added the Yellow Lines at St Mark’s School, Salisbury to their worklist to be refreshed, in the coming summer months.

“School gate parking is a perennial problem for the majority of schools and Local Authorities. Enforcement of waiting restrictions such as the double yellow lines, the no loading restrictions and School Keep Clear markings that are present in Somerset Road and Bishopdown Road are all fully enforceable by Wiltshire Council Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO). The Police will only take enforcement action against motorists parking on the School Keep Clear markings. 

“This is following work undertaken by the council and the Somerset Road Educational Trust (SRET) through the Taking Action On School Journey’s process. Requests for additional enforcement at any time can be send to parking@wiltshire.gov.uk.

“We encourage residents and parents to keep the routes to our schools safe for our children.”

On Monday (14th March 2022), Cllr Bayliss went to visit the school to see the situation for himself.

“I arrived just before pick up time and there were already parents’ vehicles parked both on the faded zig-zag lines and on the double yellows on the other side of the road. I spoke to Lyn Robson, the Lollipop Lady who said her main concern was that these vehicles obscure both her field of vision and also make her presence less visible despite her Hi-Viz jacket.”

Cllr Bayliss tells us that two police officers were also in attendance.

“I asked about the yellow ‘No Waiting’ cones they used to deploy and the police officer said that they didn’t have them any longer as it was no longer a police responsibility. 

“He suggested that the school could invest in their own, which seemed a good idea. They then went to speak to St. Mark’s Primary School’s head to suggest this, but as soon as they left the scene, more parents arrived to park on the zig-zags.

“I think that the only way this can be resolved is by Wiltshire Council taking the issue more seriously and using punitive measures in the form of fines or penalty points as a deterrent. Just moving people on has so far proved completely toothless.”

Dr Walker told Love Salisbury that he agreed with the approach of using fines or penalty points as a deterrent and suggested that Wiltshire Councils’ approach of encouraging residents and parents to keep the routes to our schools safe for our children was clearly not working.

“Parents have already been placing “no waiting cones” on the zig-zag School keep clear lines as well as the double yellow lines, only to find that drivers were just moving them out of the way or driving over the top of the cones.

“Wiltshire Council Civil Enforcement Officers and PSCO’s will not be present every day and so a longer-term solution needs to be found to ensure the safety of our children,” added Dr Walker.

Written by
Beth Doherty
View all articles
Written by Beth Doherty