Pupil safety fears as parking at new £17m school is “accident waiting to happen” – Daily Record
“It’s an accident waiting to happen; the traffic situation is utter chaos.”
Those are the words of a concerned woman whose grandson attends the new £17.3 million Hilltop Primary in Airdrie about the significant rise in cars being parked outside the school.
Irene Campbell claims the “very dangerous” situation – which Airdrie North councillor Sophia Coyle has labelled “unsustainable” – is being caused by teachers parking their cars on busy Petersburn Road as the school’s existing car park needs to be “kept clear” of their vehicles to allow pupils at the facility’s language and communication support centre for youngsters with additional support needs to be dropped off and collected.
But Irene and other confused relatives of children at the school have told the Advertiser the car park is “always full of empty spaces” and cannot understand why staff aren’t being allowed to park there.
Irene said: “The parking situation is very dangerous; after the school opened in May, the problem disappeared during the school holidays – but is now back with a vengeance.
“I called the school to ask the reason for teachers parking on the road and was told there will be no available car park until the old Dunrobin Primary School is demolished – in six months’ time.
“I don’t understand how a school can cost more than £17 million to build and be left without a car park for teachers.
“There’s a drop-off point in the school that is always full of empty spaces; why can’t the teachers park their cars there?
“I don’t blame the teachers; it’s down to whoever decided not to include car park provisions when the school opened.
“It’s setting a dangerous precedent as other people are seeing the teachers’ cars parked and starting to park there themselves.
“This is an accident waiting to happen and I’m very worried about my grandson’s safety as it is very difficult for drivers to see children running out from in between cars.”
Irene experienced a close-call of her own while driving towards the school last week. She explained: “I approached from the Towers Road side where a large van couldn’t pass because of parked cars.
“I was turning right into Dunrobin Road and an oncoming car that I couldn’t see almost ran into me.
“Nobody can see round the bend and there are often lorries barrelling through the road; visibility will get even worse in the winter months, when the roads will be icy too.
“I think it’s time the local authority insist that the empty car park spaces reserved for parents dropping off and picking up their kids be used by staff; everyone I speak to is complaining about the situation.”
An anxious mum of a Hilltop Primary youngster, who asked not to be named, added: “It’s getting harder and harder to drive in and out of the area surrounding the school.
“Petersburn Road is already a busy enough street without lots of people parking their cars there most of the day.
“I’m keeping a very close eye on my son when he comes in and out of school as I don’t want him running between cars as there’s barely a second where people aren’t driving through the road.”
Councillor Sophia Coyle has called on the council to take immediate action, telling the Advertiser: “I live quite near the school and drive past it every morning and the traffic is often at gridlock. I am so angry about this as children’s safety is under threat; the situation is unsustainable.
“As well as the school traffic, there are buses and lorries coming down this road, so the last thing it needs is an overload of parked cars.
“There are hardly any cars ever parked in the drop-off area at the school so there doesn’t seem to be any reason why the teachers can’t park there.”
Ms Coyle’s dad Michael – an Airdrie South councillor – added: “It’s a bad accident waiting to happen and a lot of parents are worried sick about their kids going in and out of school.”
A council spokesperson said: “Hilltop Primary School has a language and communication support centre for pupils with additional support needs.
“The car park at the school needs to be kept clear to allow access for buses, cars and taxis dropping off and picking up pupils who attend the centre, which has different operating times than the rest of the school.
“Teachers are encouraged to use alternative parking spaces in the area and we would ask parents and carers taking pupils to and from the school to park responsibly and consider the safety of other drivers and pedestrians.
“A new car park will be created when the former Dunrobin Primary School building is demolished.”