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“Threat to life” from cars at school gates prompts action at Central Park

Newham Council plans to restarts talk over road safety after growing concerns from parents and teachers.

By Aidan White

Central Park Primary School in East Ham.
Central Primary School in East Ham. Image via Facebook

After months of delay, plans to eliminate a road safety threat around Central Park School in East Ham are restarting following protests from parents and teachers.

Head teacher Paul Taylor told Newham Voices that the problems posed by parents in cars dropping off pupils in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon were growing.

“It’s a threat to life some mornings,” he said. “I have tried to discourage parents from using cars, but so far it has not worked and there’s not really any enforcement in terms of safety.”

He said he had had initial discussions earlier in the year. He sent a fresh urgent message to the Council over lines of cars at the school gates, ignoring the zig-zag lines outside entry points, while groups of children and parents were milling around. “We need something to be done before there’s an accident.”

He has the support of many parents. “The current situation feels very dangerous during school drop off and collection periods,” said Ann-Marie Ashton. “There is a need for both an immediate and long-term solution. This is paramount to protect kids from reckless drivers.”

Now the Council has said it will restart talks with the school over plans to include it in the Borough-wide healthy school streets scheme. “Newham Council is committed to reducing road danger and exposure to air pollution near schools, and
enabling more children and families to walk, cycle and use public transport to get to school,” said a spokesperson.

“Healthy school streets, which involve timed pedestrian and cycle zones around schools at the key drop-off and pick-up times, have now been implemented at 25 schools across the Borough, with excellent results.”

After initial contacts with Central Park Primary School in early 2023 regarding a potential Healthy School Street scheme, the Council says officers are re-starting discussions with the school over concerns raised in the development of the design of
the scheme. “We look forward to progressing these important measures soon,” said the Council.