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Cars on Derwent Close during drop off and pick up time of children from Grovelands Community Primary School nearby.

Cars on Derwent Close during drop off and pick up time of children from Grovelands Community Primary School nearby.

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Grovelands Community Primary School’s plans to stop parents using the school’s car park have been met with concern from residents and the School Traffic Action Group.

The Hailsham school submitted a new planning application and, alongside it, a statement that detailed its reasons for wanting to make the car park off-limits to pupils’ parents.

However, the school’s justification has been branded ‘misleading’ by members of STAG and the Gleneagles Residents Assocation Committee, who also believe forcing parents to park on the residential streets around the school will lead to a host of further problems.

Phil Carpenter, co-ordinator of STAG and member of the Committee, said, “Residents in the surrounding streets are frequently shut in or out of their homes as school traffic will completely block access or egress to these cul-de-sacs. 
“It is certainly the case that emergency vehicles would not be able to gain access at school drop off and pick up times.”

Mr Carpenter also responds to comments from the school that state ‘we are aware of no other schools in or around Hailsham or any East Sussex schools which allow parent/carers parking on their site’ by saying, “It is almost certainly the case that very few, if any, schools in the area are situated at the end of a number of cul-de-sacs, nor were they given planning permission with the specific proviso that car parking should be provided to alleviate parking problems in these surrounding cul-de-sacs.

“It is the case that the school was allowed to exist because it provided a car park.”

The school cites advice from various organisations as further reasons for change, including the police, the local authority and Ofsted, all of which refer to child safety within school premises but not specifically to the issue of car parking.

Mr Carpenter added, “The school’s safety inspections state that the school car park is a ‘low risk’, which does not indicate that there is any great problem with the safety of the current car parking arrangements.”

The school’s most recent Ofsted report from earlier this year labelled behaviour and safety of children as ‘good’ while the report from 2000 was the last time the car park was specifically mentioned. Then, it read, “Since the last inspection, the school has taken advice from the police, fire and ambulance services to improve safety in the car park. A one-way system, speed ramps and good direction signs are now in place and this has helped to alleviate the problems.”

The school has been contacted by the Herald for a comment but, at the time of going to press, had yet to reply.