Northampton school in gridlocked cul-de-sac searches for end to 'Mexican standoff' of parents in cars during school rush

Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School is in a cul-de-sac.
Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School is in a cul-de-sac.

Parking troubles outside a Northampton primary school are leading to a "Mexican standoff" of parents in cars during the morning and afternoon rush, the headteacher says.

Parents, teachers and residents voiced their fears for students' safety at a meeting at the Good Shepherd Catholic School, in Kingsland Gardens, Kingsthorpe, yesterday (October 31).

The school says parents parking along Kingland Gardens and in front of the gates is  causing a "Mexican standoff" at peak times.

The school says parents parking along Kingland Gardens and in front of the gates is causing a "Mexican standoff" at peak times.

The school, which is in a cul-de-sac with a roundabout, is experiencing gridlock at school drop-off and pick-up times because "an inconsiderate few" are parking in front of the school gates or lining the road to wait for their children.

Headteacher Martin Lowe said the school has had "a couple of near misses" in recent months with pupils walking into the road from behind parked cars during rush hour.

The meeting also heard how emergency vehicles would not be able to use the road to reach the school in an incident.

Mr Lowe said: "There's only one way in or out. There are lots of parked cars and some parents are being inconsiderate.

"We've held this meeting to take some action. We're trying to improve the situation.

"We need parents to also think, 'is it necessary to come in the car? Is it possible to walk?'"

New single-yellow lines, a parents' parking charter and even fines will now be considered to discourage using the cul-de-sac in the school run.

The school even asked their own student council for ideas on how to solve the daily problem, which were presented at the meeting by Mr Lowe.

He said: "The children are concerned. They don't believe the roundabout is safe. They feel some parents are being inconsiderate."

The pupils put forward an idea for a walking bus to meet at the nearby Waitrose supermarket, where parents could drop off and pick up their children at the larger, accessible car park.

They also came up with a no-parking drop-off point and a one-in-one-out numbers system for entering the cul-de-sac.

PCSO Peter Middleton, who led the meeting, said: "It's not just this school. All the roads in Northampton are just packed and cars are being bottlenecked."