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A Whole School Plea ....

Attached is the letter sent to all Parents and Carers today, 24th January.

Dear Parents/Carers

This is not someone else’s problem, it affects the safety of everyone in the community so please do not stop reading this letter when you realise it concerns parking.

Whilst irritation, annoyance and inconvenience caused is certainly an issue and often strains relations between the school and the local community, it is safety and well-being that is our greatest cause for concern, so please give this letter your close consideration (and bring it to the attention of anyone else who drops off or collects your children from North Downs).

Although schools have no authority over where their parents park, we have a couple of stories to share which illustrate how adversely members of our community have been affected by ill-considered and dangerous parking just recently.

The first involves at North Downs parent and her children who were subjected to a very frightening experience, which could have been much worse but for her quick thinking…

Having collected her young children from Brockham site at the end of the day the parent was returning to her car on Middle Street walking through The Smithers. Every available parking space was taken, and as cars had parked in the turning area too, another driver needing to turn around to be able to leave The Smithers did so by reversing onto the pavement.

The parent’s older child was seen by the driver who stopped as they passed, the younger following after was too small to be seen in the car mirror by the driver who was now moving again and left the parent with no option but to throw herself at the younger child, knocking them both out of the vehicle’s path. Fortunately they were ONLY left shaken, cut and bruised by the experience.

The second involves a resident of The Smithers experiencing added distress in an already very upsetting situation for them, when an ambulance which had been called following another resident’s death was unable to enter The Smithers due to the inconsiderate parking of parents’ vehicles.

Whilst this was such a sad and stressful situation in itself, it is not an exaggeration to say that had this been in response to a medical emergency the delay in getting though could have had fatal consequences.

There is much else that could be said - about mounting kerbs, dropping off on zig-zags, parking where signs indicate no parking - but it all points to the same thing, which is our much-repeated request that parents and visitors to North Downs help us improve safety and community relations in our three villages by giving greater thought and care to parking.

As the parent said in her communication to school “It really is an awful accident waiting to happen and I would not feel comfortable if I were not to write to you expressing my concerns.”

Thank you for your time and attention.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Jane Douglass