Hundreds fined for parking on zigzags lines outside Portsmouth schools
HUNDREDS of people have been fined for parking on zig-zag lines outside schools, The News can reveal.
Figures from a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that across Portsmouth, Havant, Gosport and Fareham 859 people received fixed-penalty notices.
The majority were in Portsmouth where, between January 1, 2016 and March 29 this year, 745 people received a £70 notice.
Schools and councils have been working on schemes to discourage parents from parking on the yellow zig-zag lines during busy school hours.
From putting up signs to having parking wardens, they are trying to reduce the problem to ensure the safety of the pupils.
Victoria Page, headteacher of Langstone Infant School, in Baffins, said it was a reoccurring issue.
‘It is a big problem for us here,’ she said.
‘I have done lots of different things to help support parents and to ask them not to do it.
‘The issue is, parents are busy in the morning and in a rush to drop their kids off and get to work.
‘They don’t think about the safety of the children, residents and other members of the public.
‘We have been in the road moving people away and, although the majority of people are okay about it, some people can get abusive.’
Other schools in the city have similar problems with many of them located in residential streets where parking is a problem.
Wimborne Junior School in Southsea has recruited Junior Road Safety Officers to patrol outside the school three mornings a week, alongside PSHE leader Chantelle Knight.
They are ensuring parents do not park on the yellow zig-zag lines and since the scheme started last month, the problem has reduced.
The school in Wimborne Road also puts up signs reminding parents of the £70 they could have to pay.
Chantelle said: ‘The problem with people parking on the lines outside our school has been reduced since we started the two schemes.
‘But we did have one van parked outside a sign so there is the occasional issue.
‘A lot of parents just think it will take two minutes to drop their kids off or pick up their children but we have 350 children at the school.
‘All it takes is for one parent to do it and a child could be injured.
‘We have very narrow roads and children are impulsive. You can tell them repeatedly about road safety but they forget and bolt into the road.’
In Portsmouth, Fareham and Havant, the fines are handed out by council enforcement officers but in Gosport, Hampshire Constabulary are in charge of the fines on behalf of the council.
In response to the FOI request, they said ‘they have no details of the fines as the figure is zero’.
Last June, Portsmouth City Council proposed plans to put cameras up outside schools to catch people parking on the lines.
As part of those plans, the council invested in two cameras which can be moved around the city to target the sites where children are most at risk from cars parking or stopping on zig-zags.
Alan Cufley, director of transport at the council, said: ‘Drivers stopping on zig zags has been an ongoing issue for many schools in the city which are rightfully concerned about the risk this poses.
‘We started using enforcement cameras in January and plan to move them around high priority schools.
‘While the cameras will be unpopular with anyone caught, we hope it will change behaviour and keep zig-zags free so children can cross the road safely.
‘It would be great if we could get to the point where the cameras never need to issue a fine as everyone is parking safely.’
Some cameras have already been placed outside Langstone Infant School in Ascot Road.
Ms Page said: ‘The camera we’ve had put up has made some difference.
‘But it is key the problem is solved across the city.’
Any vehicle which stops on zig-zags during their operational hours, which is normally 8am until 4pm, may receive a Penalty Charge Notice through the post of £70.
If it is paid within 21 days, it is reduced to £35.
A council spokeswoman said enforcement officers will continue to enforce sites where there are no cameras.
n PAGE 22