PARENTS
16/06/2015 07:57 BST | Updated 16/06/2015 07:59 BST

Primary School Plans To Charge Parents A £45 Annual Fee To Drop Off Kids

A primary school is planning to start charging parents £45 a year to use a car park to drop off their children.

The fee is being introduced at St Gregory's Catholic Academy, in Longton, Staffordshire, after traffic problems that have "plagued the school for years" led to concerns over pupil's safety.

Principal Margaret Yates said: "The safety of the children has to be put first, above everything else.

"There have been instances of people parking disrespectfully, blocking residents drives, and also some stopping in the middle of the road to let passengers out."

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The school is planning to create a 50 space car park, but want to charge parents £2 a week or £15 a term to use it.

The scheme has received a mixed reaction from parents.

Some say pupils are being put at risk by inconsiderate drivers, while others feel the school should foot the bill.

Dad-of-two Michael Underwood, 43, said: "I've never heard of anybody being charged money to just to drop children at the school gates - it's like a parent tax.

"Surely the school has a duty to protect the pupils and should pay for a car park in order to facilitate this.

"I think it's outrageous really."

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Mum-of-one Holly Barrett, 30, added: "I'm a single mum and can't really be doing with extra charges - especially for just dropping off my daughter at school.

"I don't think it is a good idea."

But Tracy Gregory, 46, who has two children at the school, said: "People park dangerously or park on double yellow lines and that shouldn't happen. It is wrong.

"As parents we want what is best for our kids and we don't mind paying a little extra. I'm very happy with what the school is doing."

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It will cost the school up to £3,000 to install new fences, signs and gates, along with the ongoing costs of maintenance and hiring a warden to monitor the site.

Principal Yates said: "We have a budget for the education of our children and of course safeguarding comes into that.

"But we can not spend that money on a car park, which is why we must look elsewhere to cover the costs.

"Because a temporary car park [we had] was so successful, we decided to continue with it and monitor it very closely every day to determine the parking provision.

"It has improved pedestrian safety and we received support and also less complaints from residents."

Residents living near the school have called on Stoke-on-Trent City Council to deal with the parking problems in Spring Garden Road, where the school is based.

Neil Jones, 64, who lives on the road doesn't feel the school should have to solve this problem. He said: "I feel sorry for the teachers for having to sort this problem out. It should not be theirs to solve.

"You would not believe the amount of chaos caused by cars parking on Spring Garden Road. There are times I, and other residents can't even get off our drives.

"I know these proposals will ease the problems and I'm happy to see someone trying to solve the problem, but it should not be the school doing it."

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