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School Run Parking Issues

This article was started on 2nd March 2016 by Hugh Marchant with a lot of help from Cllr Stephen Tarling and will be kept up-to-date with any relevant information.

Last updated 12:30 on 4th December 2016.

Latest News:

4th December 2016 Is the School park and stride initiative working? Too often while driving through Sway in the afternoon around School pickup time I have noted a whole line of cars parked on Station Road from the Youth Centre all the way along to Jubilee Field. At the same time, Jubilee Field car park has had 40 or so empty parking spaces - more than ample. If the cars have been left on Station Road by parents picking up their kids, why not use the car park? Parking on Station Road restricts sight lines for those driving and any crossing the road. Using the car park adds a few extra yards to your walk. Comments please to

13 October 2016 Excellent article in the Lymington Times about how St Luke's School are attempting to combat the problems of congestion in the village at school run times by encouraging the children to walk to school, and for those outside the village to use Jubilee Field car park as a drop off zone for a walking bus to school. Way to go St Luke's! Keep on trekking! In a newsletter and on their website they are asking all families to make use of the park and stride facilities at the Jubilee Fields, the Manor at Sway and outside Janet Kirk Floral Designs, in front of the Forest Heath Flats. We thank the Parish Council, local businesses, the Manor at Sway and Janet Kirk Floral Designs for fully supporting this scheme.
2016-10-14 Walking bus Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

11 August 2016 At the Planning and Transport Committee meeting this evening, the clerk reported news regarding the potential use of the Cango bus to ferry children from Jubilee Field car park to St Luke's School. The School Transport Manager has carried out an inspection at St Luke's and decided that the bus cannot turn around there and it would be dangerous for it to reverse there. So as far as we know that idea will not go ahead now and we are not aware of any alternative proposals. Maybe we could get back to the idea of the children walking the short distance from Jubilee Field car park to school in a walking bus?

25th April 2016 On 22nd April, Helen Lennox from Gracewell, Jane Brennan resident in Westbeams Road, Barry Rickman (Chair of Sway Parish Council), Ken Thornber (HCC Councillor), Mike Fleming (Local Authority Governor), Rachel Goplen (Head teacher) and Stuart Redhead (PCSO) met to review completed resident surveys and parent surveys. Select here to see what happens next.

Future Action

At the meeting on Friday 22nd April 2016, the Working Party agreed to complete the following actions.

  1. Explore whether the Cango Bus can be used to transport children to and from the school from the Jubilee Field.
  2. Ask HCC to complete a traffic survey to explore the potential options for a footpath from the Jubilee Field to Church Lane, benefits of resident parking only in Westbeams Road and a One Way system along Church Lane.
  3. Carry out a comprehensive strategy to look at traffic management in the wider area of the school.
  4. The school will investigate the purchase of additional cycle storage.

10th March 2016 St Luke's School, in partnership with Sway Parish Council and Hampshire County Council have launched a Sway Village Congestion Project. Select the banner below to go to their web page.
Sway Village Congestion Project banner
They have also issued a letter addressed to the Residents of Sway/ Families at the school which can be downloaded from their web page or from here
and are performing two surveys, one online for parents of children at St Luke's School (adobe icon details of which can be seen here [54kb]), and a paper one for residents of Sway. Paper survey forms are available from the shops in Sway village or can be downloaded here.

4th March 2016 Cllr. Ken Thornber CBE emailed to say I am meeting the Head and Officers from the County Council next week on this topic and setting up a study on this subject, the results of which will inform a policy to be adopted.

school run parking problem map Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

Everybody knows that we have problems twice a day during term time with parking along Westbeams Road, Church Lane and Station Road. As one woman kindly pointed out to me when I went to look at the situation this afternoon (Wednesday 2nd March) all schools have parking problems. However I do not accept the rest of her statement along the lines of "live with it!"

That morning, there had been a low-speed collision as a local resident attempted to exit their driveway. Cllr Stephen Tarling and myself went to review the situation between 3pm and 4pm.

On arrival, there were a very small number of school-run vehicles parked on Church Lane, while Westbeams Road and Station Road appeared clear of any but the normal vehicles of residents and workers.

15:30 Westbeams Road

By 3:25 Church Lane was full and some cars were turning into Westbeams Road trying to find space. We did not look at Station Road, but past experience suggests that was filling up as well.

15:26 Church Lane

Ten minutes after that, Church Lane was emptying

15:34 Church Lane

and after another 10 minutes was almost clear again.

15:48 Church Lane Church Lane After

So the problem today lasted around 30 minutes. Other surveys suggest a similar length of time each morning.

During this time there are at least four major problems.

The first is that often vehicles cannot pass along Church Lane at all.

15:27 Church Lane gridlock

The second problem is that when a clear route opens up, some drivers speed down Church Lane. This is presumably to avoid being blocked in by something coming up. There are some very aggressive drivers out there.

Church Lane During

The third problem is that those drivers lucky enough to find parking space along Church Lane often make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for residents to exit their driveways safely. This is particularly worrying given the fast aggressive driving observed today.

15:25 Church Lane

The fourth problem is that with all those parked cars and impatient drivers, pedestrians are clearly at much greater risk.

These problems are not new, neither as that woman pointed out to me are they unique to Sway. However they do deserve attention.

Cllr Stephen Tarling, the chairman of the Planning and Transport committee has made the following observations:

Sway Parish Council and our County Councillor Ken Thornber CBE have been working on this issue and the associated problems of parking at St. Luke's School for a number of years.   Highways issues are the purlieu of the appropriate highways authority, and in our case that is Hampshire Highways - see for instance  where Stuart Jarvis is the Director of Economy, Transport and Environment and County Councillor Se├ín Woodward holds the portfolio as Executive Member for Economy, Transport & Environment.   So any help the residents in  this area can provide to Sway Parish Council and our County Councillor in explaining the issues and requesting solutions, and directed to the appropriate people, would be much appreciated.

Sway Parish Council have spent at least 7 years and probably longer trying to get something done about this.  Unfortunately roads are not a responsibility of a Parish Council and so there is no direct action we can take on highways.  However Sway Parish Council have lobbied and written to and E-mailed and phoned and talked to and arranged meetings with Hampshire Highways, our County Councillor (who has been quite active on this matter), the Police, NFDC, St. Luke's School, contractors building locally, and anyone who writes, E-mails or phones us or comes along to one of our meetings. 

Sway Parish Council have freely offered Jubilee Field car park for a walking bus on a number of occasions in an effort to ease the congestion around the school, we've opposed most planning applications which add to congestion in the area, we've written in Sway News - who are well aware of the issue,  it's been on many agenda for any resident, parent, teacher, school governor or whoever to come along and contribute; we've considered walking routes into the school (across land the Parish Council unfortunately do not own - so that's not within our gift), and many of us have been along and stood around the school or the junction between Westbeams Road and Church Lane to assess the issues. 

My notes from a previous survey are as below:

I went to Jubilee Field and parked there at about 08:30. It took me just under 4 minutes to walk round to the school, but as far as I could see not one other school-run car parked in Jubilee Field where there were at least 40 empty car parking spaces.  I seem to remember a few years ago the school said they were considering a walking bus from Jubilee Field - and apparently they are still considering it now.  The most serious congestion was between 08:45 and 08:55, but was far less either side of that short period.

Cllr. Hugh Marchant and I also went along this afternoon.  Once again there was plenty of parking available in Jubilee Field, and a lot of congestion at the junction of Westbeams Road and Church Lane.  We were surprised at how far down Church Lane the cars for picking up from the school were parked, and we noted some parking on the double yellow lines or extremely close to residents' driveways (so there would be no splay coming out of a driveway onto one side of the narrow road), and one driver was unnecessarily rude.  We also sensed some vehicles seemed to be doing a fair speed down Church Lane.  However the main congestion and parking issues in the afternoon were between about 3:20 and 3:35pm. 

The walking bus idea was trialled but encountered problems relating to lack of footpaths, crossings, appropriateness of route/ location. Refer to the letter on the congestion project webpage for further details

So that is the situation so far. Last year our local PCSO Stuart Readhead adobe icon wrote to parents and carers [154kb] and made a number of very valid points and good suggestions. From our observations today, very little attention has been taken of this. The woman who so kindly voiced her opinion of this traffic problem amongst other things, clearly failed to appreciate that, unlike the other car parked on those double yellow lines, her vehicle was not displaying any blue disabled person's badge and was therefore exacerbating the situation while being illegally parked.

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