‘They need to get their priorities right.’: Residents of Eastbourne road criticise local school over parking issue

Eastbourne residents have criticised a local school for allowing parents to use the cul-de-sac to park when they are dropping off students.

Redford Close gives onto a commercial access gate for Langney Primary Academy, which the school repurposed as a second entrance during the pandemic.

People living on the road said they have ‘had enough’ of being kicked out of the road by parents parking on their driveways, parking over dropped kerbs for pedestrians and parking over the footway.

The school opened the entrance to deal with government restrictions regarding bubble groups and staggered start and finish times, and has continued to use the gate after restrictions were lifted.

Redford Close gives onto a commercial access gate for Langney Primary Academy, which the school repurposed as a second entrance during the pandemic. People living on the road said they have ‘had enough’ of being kicked out of the road.. SUS-210712-170821001

Diane Waters, a resident in Etchingham Road, said, “We get parents parking across our driveway. We have to organise our lives around school times. How much will it take for East Sussex County Council to sort out this situation? Try telling your GP that you can’t make it for a 9am appointment because you can’t get out. There are people who have lived here for over 30 years.”

Chris Lucas, another local resident, said that he was fed up with children riding scooters along the road and in between the cars and receiving abuse for trying to inform the parents.

“They need to get their priorities right. We were given a promise 20 years ago that the gate would remain closed and only used for the minibus, teacher foot access and small delivery vehicles.

“The gate has never been used until they started using it because of the pandemic. Now it’s like they want to use it all the time.

“We have nurses, doctors, delivery vehicles and residents’ cars all trying to use the surrounding roads . But parents park where they like and block the driveways so no one can get out and children are walking straight into the road.

“We understand the Covid restrictions. It is the safety of the children we are thinking about and it frightens us that they will be walking on the road where there are all the cars.”

Tom Nevill, another local resident, added, “We understood that the commercial access gate for the school had to be used during the pandemic and it was to keep everyone safe.

“But having a minibus, refuse collections, pedestrians, commercial deliveries, and vehicles mounting the kerb to enter the road is just too dangerous as it is too narrow to drive on the highway.”

Some residents are accusing Langney Primary Academy’s head Teacher, Mr Benjamin Bowles, of not supporting the residents and not taking responsibility for the issues.

However, Mr Bowles said that he is proud of the work the school has done and that there are plans to enhance the on-site parking to ease the pressure on local areas.

“I am incredibly proud of the proactive work we have undertaken as a school to reduce local traffic and pollution levels.

“We were one of six schools in the whole of East Sussex who voluntarily took part in the School Streets pilot in March, April and May 2021 that temporarily closed Chailey Close and Redford Close to traffic.

“This encouraged healthy lifestyles with families walking, cycling and scooting to school.

“Local residents were very supportive of this project. We look forward to taking part in further such projects to support reducing emissions and improving local air quality.

“As a school we always put the safety of our children first. We have been forward thinking in ensuring we are proportionate with any sensible measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still ongoing.

“We frequently support the local residents with helpful reminders to our parents/carers about parking legally when dropping off and collecting their children.

“As a Trust, we plan to enhance our on site staff parking facilities that will alleviate some parking pressures in the local streets.”