Bad parking puts Marlborough pupils’ lives at risk, says taxi boss

This Is Wiltshire: Justin Cook is concerned at the taxi rank spaces being taken up at St John’s School Justin Cook is concerned at the taxi rank spaces being taken up at St John’s School

Concerns have been raised that inconsiderate drivers are putting the lives of pupils at risk at St John’s School, Marlborough, by parking in taxi bays.

There are parking bays marked as ‘loading for taxis and coaches only’ but companies on Wiltshire Council contracted school runs say that these spaces are being used by teachers, sixth form students and parents.

Justin Cook, owner of Arrow Private Hire, who is also a newly-elected town councillor, said that this means his drivers are forced to double park and that pupils getting out of the taxis have to dodge the coaches when they drive into the main car park.

He said: “Instead of being able to get out onto the pavement the children are departing the vehicles on the roadside and having to dodge the coaches coming down the hill and, sometimes, when the coaches swing round they narrowly miss the children.

“When one of my drivers asked one of the teachers not to park their car there they replied: ‘I am a teacher here and have special permission to park here. If you don’t like it, speak to the headmaster’ and drove off.

“I then decided to call the headmaster Dr Patrick Hazelwood and left three messages but heard nothing back.”

Mr Cook said he then called Wiltshire Council Passenger Transport, which manages the school contracts, and was told its hands were tied due St John’s being private property because it is an academy.

Andy Layfield, transport manager for Pewsey Vale Coaches, added: “There are issues with parents parking in the bays where they’re not supposed to be and it’s a health and safety concern for the children.

“The council have been quite helpful about it but the school haven’t.”

In March 2011 Finlay Connor died after he and his mother were run over by the school bus outside Woodborough Primary School and his dad, Greg, said preventative measures should be in place to stop a similar tragedy.

He said: “The situation with children’s safety at St John’s was brought to my attention by close friend Justin Cook, who explained just how precarious the parking situation was.

“I would like to remind everyone that we have a moral obligation to ensure the safety of children around our schools.

“It is imperative people grasp just how devastating an accident can be to a family such as ours and that preventative measures should be in place.”

After he contacted St John’s on Wednesday on behalf of The Finlay Foundation, the charity will now be providing Year 7 students with high visibility vests.

A spokesman for St John’s Academy said refuted the claims.

He said: “We take full precautions to ensure the safety of all students.

"We strongly discourage car movements through the car parks at the beginning and end of the day in order to allow buses free flow through the one way system.

"Unfortunately we do not have the resources to deter parents using the car park as a ‘drop off zone’.

"The view expressed by the complainant is exaggerated.  We work closely with the Wiltshire Transport Unit who advise and monitor our transport.  They have been very complimentary about our arrangements which are under constant scrutiny.

"Duty staff in hi-viz vests are present at the end of every school day from 15:10 to 16:00.

"Taxis should also follow the rules of the one way system in order to comply with our guidance on safe practice.  Unfortunately this does not always happen.”

Comments (7)

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9:24am Sat 25 May 13

Justin Cook says...

1. Pewsey Vale coaches confirm that health & safety concerns are real. They contacted council, very helpful. They contacted St Johns and not helpful.
2. Hi viz jacket staff never come down to taxi bays but always stay at top car park.
3.no resources to stop parents parking? How about pictures of dead children on cars ? Would this get message through to teachers and parents ?
4. Six form students parking in Orchard road at back of school, residents now complaining to WCC.
5. Massive over capacity at school by
taking students from OUTSIDE catchment area. St Johns running private business and profit and results more important that child safety ?
6. Not once have St Johns agree problem and want to fix.....just excuses and arrogance, dear dear me mr Hazelwood have you no humility or shame ???

Finlay Connor foundation and Arrow do live phone in show on BBC radio Wilts on Tuesday 07.30am. Ben Prater show next week.....tune in for truthful info. Why would I grandstand over something so important ?!
1. Pewsey Vale coaches confirm that health & safety concerns are real. They contacted council, very helpful. They contacted St Johns and not helpful. 2. Hi viz jacket staff never come down to taxi bays but always stay at top car park. 3.no resources to stop parents parking? How about pictures of dead children on cars ? Would this get message through to teachers and parents ? 4. Six form students parking in Orchard road at back of school, residents now complaining to WCC. 5. Massive over capacity at school by taking students from OUTSIDE catchment area. St Johns running private business and profit and results more important that child safety ? 6. Not once have St Johns agree problem and want to fix.....just excuses and arrogance, dear dear me mr Hazelwood have you no humility or shame ??? Finlay Connor foundation and Arrow do live phone in show on BBC radio Wilts on Tuesday 07.30am. Ben Prater show next week.....tune in for truthful info. Why would I grandstand over something so important ?! Justin Cook
  • Score: 0

1:08pm Sat 25 May 13

freddie_W says...

O please!!!
O please!!! freddie_W
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Tue 28 May 13

FromTheWirral says...

This article is about far away from grandstanding as is possible. No mistake.
This article is about far away from grandstanding as is possible. No mistake. FromTheWirral
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Wed 29 May 13

Think safe says...

So one says one thing and you say the other. Get the facts and don't exploit. You say it's the parents fault then blame the school. So who is at fault. So do your research then sort it out.
So one says one thing and you say the other. Get the facts and don't exploit. You say it's the parents fault then blame the school. So who is at fault. So do your research then sort it out. Think safe
  • Score: 0

5:38pm Wed 29 May 13

notscot says...

Think safe wrote:
So one says one thing and you say the other. Get the facts and don't exploit. You say it's the parents fault then blame the school. So who is at fault. So do your research then sort it out.
Research?
At least these people are using parking bays!!
It's a national problem. A large proportion of parents who drive their kids to school drive and park like morons. Unless you have half a dozen people outside every school - on every school day - to prevent this - they will CONTINUE to park like morons.
It's the fault of parents who are too lazy, stupid and/or selfish (or all 3) to leave early enough to park safely - a little further away - to ensure they get their kids to school without parking like morons and endangering others.
[quote][p][bold]Think safe[/bold] wrote: So one says one thing and you say the other. Get the facts and don't exploit. You say it's the parents fault then blame the school. So who is at fault. So do your research then sort it out.[/p][/quote]Research? At least these people are using parking bays!! It's a national problem. A large proportion of parents who drive their kids to school drive and park like morons. Unless you have half a dozen people outside every school - on every school day - to prevent this - they will CONTINUE to park like morons. It's the fault of parents who are too lazy, stupid and/or selfish (or all 3) to leave early enough to park safely - a little further away - to ensure they get their kids to school without parking like morons and endangering others. notscot
  • Score: 0

6:03pm Wed 29 May 13

Think safe says...

notscot wrote:
Think safe wrote: So one says one thing and you say the other. Get the facts and don't exploit. You say it's the parents fault then blame the school. So who is at fault. So do your research then sort it out.
Research? At least these people are using parking bays!! It's a national problem. A large proportion of parents who drive their kids to school drive and park like morons. Unless you have half a dozen people outside every school - on every school day - to prevent this - they will CONTINUE to park like morons. It's the fault of parents who are too lazy, stupid and/or selfish (or all 3) to leave early enough to park safely - a little further away - to ensure they get their kids to school without parking like morons and endangering others.
Yes, the teacher is quoted as using the parking!!!
Totally agree national problem, both schools have drop off zones in relation to St Johns and where the tragic accident happened.
You could be right, laziness could be reason for many things!
Lets hope taxi driver/councillor J Cook may sort it out.
[quote][p][bold]notscot[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Think safe[/bold] wrote: So one says one thing and you say the other. Get the facts and don't exploit. You say it's the parents fault then blame the school. So who is at fault. So do your research then sort it out.[/p][/quote]Research? At least these people are using parking bays!! It's a national problem. A large proportion of parents who drive their kids to school drive and park like morons. Unless you have half a dozen people outside every school - on every school day - to prevent this - they will CONTINUE to park like morons. It's the fault of parents who are too lazy, stupid and/or selfish (or all 3) to leave early enough to park safely - a little further away - to ensure they get their kids to school without parking like morons and endangering others.[/p][/quote]Yes, the teacher is quoted as using the parking!!! Totally agree national problem, both schools have drop off zones in relation to St Johns and where the tragic accident happened. You could be right, laziness could be reason for many things! Lets hope taxi driver/councillor J Cook may sort it out. Think safe
  • Score: 0

8:53am Thu 30 May 13

FromTheWirral says...

Starting with his own drivers naturally.
Starting with his own drivers naturally. FromTheWirral
  • Score: 0

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