Fire service issues warning after bad parking forces engines to 'crawl' past Whitley Bay school

Parking near Appletree Gardens First School has meant fire engines have to reduce their speed to a crawl to get past. Credit: TWFRS

Firefighters are warning members of the public they could be putting lives at risk with inconsiderate school run parking.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and North Tyneside Council have issued guidance to road users near a school in Monkseaton following concerns that fire engines had to reduce their speed "to a crawl" due to parking.

They branded the parking outside Appletree Gardens First School as an "accident waiting to happen".

The Monkseaton school has urged parents to abide by parking rules when dropping off and collecting children. Credit: Google Maps

Station Manager Jonathan Ramanayake, from the prevention and education team at the service, visited the school with councillors during the morning drop-off period.

He said: “We have particular concerns on two fronts. Firstly, the poor access for our fire appliances as they look to slalom between parked cars on the way to a potential lifesaving incident.

“And secondly, each inconsiderately parked vehicle becomes a hazard for young people and other pedestrians needing to use the pavement or wishing to safely cross the road to make their way to school. 

"We would urge all road users to think sensibly and appropriately when parking up – as their decision could prove fatal if a young person steps out in to the road to avoid their vehicle. 

"Or if one of our fire appliances needs to make an unnecessary detour to a house fire if the road is blocked by cars. In these cases every second counts."

Residents near the school have also made complaints about the parking. Credit: TWFRS

Figures from the Traffic Accident Data Unit show that between 2019 and 2021, almost a third of all pedestrians injured in road traffic collisions in North Tyneside involved people under 15-years-old.

Headteacher Helen Bruce said: "Our top priority at Appletree is keeping everyone in the community safe.

"We would urge people to follow the signs and the road markings near to our school. They clearly explain where you can and can't park safely.

"Parking respectfully and correctly ensures everyone can walk into our school hazard free and safely. It also supports our residents' right to access their own driveways at all times, which for some members of our community is essential."

North Tyneside's cabinet member for environmental and local transport services, Cllr Sandra Graham, said: "We realise that leaving the car at home is not a realistic option for all families, in which case we would ask parents to ‘park and stride’, leaving the car a five or ten minute walk away from school.

"When cars are parked at the school, we ask parents to park and drive considerately, avoiding restrictions such as School Keep Clear zig zags and bus stops, leaving residents’ drives clear, keeping speed to a minimum, turning off engines while stationary and not blocking pavements for pedestrians."

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