Careless drivers pose risk to their own kids

TROUBLESPOT ... outside Cleadon Village C of E Primary School, and, inset, Coun Joan Atkinson.
TROUBLESPOT ... outside Cleadon Village C of E Primary School, and, inset, Coun Joan Atkinson.

PARENTS are risking serious injury to children by parking carelessly near a school, a councillor has warned.

And today worried Joan Atkinson told of her concerns at Cleadon Village CofE Primary School, declaring: “This has to change”.

Friends of East Boldon Parks Peter Skevington and Joan Atkinson in Grange Park

Friends of East Boldon Parks Peter Skevington and Joan Atkinson in Grange Park

Coun Atkinson said: “Some do not seem to understand the seriousness of what they are doing. I believe there is a high risk of serious injury.”

She added: “The responsibility is with the people who are doing this, the carers of the children.”

Her fears increased this week after an empty car was captured on CCTV rolling backwards out of control into the driveway of a house.

Watch the CCTV of the runaway car here.

The driver is believed to be a school-run mum who had dashed off for a parents’ meeting and forgot to apply the handbrake when she parked in Underhill Road.

The footage was taken on security cameras of homeowners Paul, 39, and Tracy Fellows, 41.

University student Mrs Fellows called police after returning home to find the empty car on their drive. Officers spoke to the driver on her return, and gave what they describe as “advice”, but no further action was taken.

In December the couple also filmed a car reversing dangerously into the drive at speed, narrowly missing their son Reuben, four, who was playing outside.

They claim parents regularly park and drive dangerously when taking their kids to and from the school.

Such is their concern they have now stopped Reuben and his sister Olivia, seven, from playing in their front garden.

Coun Atkinson said South Tyneside Council, the school and police were united in wanting to tackle the issue, which has been ongoing for at least five months.

Police have already sent parents warning letters issued through the school.

And double yellow lines are set to be added to part of Underhill Road as part of the clampdown.

Coun Atkinson believes part of the problem is that the school has a high percentage of pupils from outside the catchment area who need to be driven.

She added: “I’ve seen the footage, and it is amazing that the car did not hit anyone or anything. It’s a miracle really.

“There is perhaps a perception that the school is responsible for what the children’s carers do, but the school has taken all the measures it can.

“There’s absolutely no disagreement between the school, council, police or traffic wardens that action is needed.

“I think some parents must think their children are Teflon coated when I hear some of the tales about the way they drop them off in the road.”

Parents can park free for short periods at the start and end of the school day at the Britannia pub just 100 yards away.

The Labour councillor hopes to discuss the issue further at a meeting of police, council chiefs and parking control officers later this week.

Company director, Mr Fellows, welcomed her involvement, saying: “She is doing all she can to help.”

Northumbria Police neighbourhood inspector, Dave Hudson, said: “Like any residential area with a school, parents want to get their children there.

“They need to do this responsibly. This is not just a police matter, but a partnership matter.”

South Tyneside Council would not comment.

Twitter: @shieldsgazette