SHUTTING roads at peak times and even a “drive-through school” have been touted as possible solutions to rush hour parking woes.

Councillor Julia Cherrett first called for action to stop drivers blocking driveways, slamming doors and mounting kerbs outside Whitehouse Primary School, in Dunelm Road, in 2015. But four years on, the member for Bishopsgarth and Elm Tree said “nothing had changed” and she feared children’s lives were at risk.

The Liberal Democrat called for more enforcement action, alternative parking at a nearby supermarket and a “public space protection order” to give police and the council more clout to hit motorists with fines.

However, councillors were keen to air their own ideas at the executive scrutiny committee. Cllr Norma Stephenson, for Hardwick and Salters Lane, said: “There are councils in Scotland where you cannot take a car past schools at certain times of the day. The road is actually closed. Between 8.15am and 9.15am no traffic is allowed, and it’s the same at home-time.”

There were also concerns that sleep of older people in bungalows on the stretch was being disturbed by the “honking of horns”, car radios and slammed car doors.

A report stated: “Residents report being verbally abused when they challenge drivers. Enforcement officers have also been verbally abused.”

Cllr Stephenson told the panel she was surprised someone hadn’t come up with a “drive-through school”.

She added: “It’s a shame that this is happening – I know schools were built before there was a load of cars along the road, but I think as a council we need to take the lead and be strong.

“In Hardwick, a child had to die coming out of school for traffic calming and bollards to go in. “I wouldn’t like to see that happen again and I think it’s time we took a firmer stance on this."

A review into parking outside Stockton schools was completed in 2016 – urging campaigns on road safety, more enforcement and consideration of experimental traffic orders. But problems with too few enforcement officers to police poor parking have persisted.

Cllr Cherrett favoured the PSPO – a tool which can be used by councils to ban or control activities judged to have a “detrimental effect” on the quality of life. Breaches of the order can be chased up by police officers, PCSO’s, council officers and even private security guards.

However, Cllr Tony Riordan feared it could be used as “a hammer to crack a nut”. The former policeman added: “To be criminalising people for dropping kids off at school might be an own goal.

"Legislation will displace the problem into the next streets.”

The parking concerns will be addressed again at October’s crime and disorder select committee.

Stockton Mayor Cllr Lynn Hall stressed each school’s problems were unique and suggested “looking outside the box”. 

The former teacher said: “There is no reason why, with the right will and volunteers, they could not form a walking train of children dropped at the supermarket who are then walked along the road to Whitehouse. 

“That would be the long term solution – it’s an estate which is full of bungalows and elderly people, and they must be heartily sick of the banging of doors.”

Reaction and aftermath 

The parking worry will be looked at again at October’s crime and disorder select committee. 

After the meeting, Cllr Cherett said it was time the council did something. 

“There are 85 houses served by one road in and out – people are stuck and have no alternative,” she added.

“My biggest concern is there are often 4x4s with small children walking between them – drivers are reversing and cannot possibly see a child behind them.

“I don’t want us to be sitting here in the future saying we’ve had a child killed.

“Something needs to happen now.”