Veteran head blasts “selfish” parents parking outside his Canterbury primary school

Drivers flagrantly park on pavements close to St Stephen's Primary Schhol

When Canterbury City Council sent enforcement officers to a school to penalise problem parking parents, you might have thought the message would have got through.

But when the Canterbury Journal returned to the gates of St Stephen’s after the enforcement blitz, drivers were still flagrantly breaching parking regulations.

Two cars were parked wholly on the pavement in Hales Drive, others were on yellow lines and one vehicle was blocking others in on a patch of ground next to St Stephen’s Church.

The council’s enforcement action took place last month, but St Stephen’s head Stuart Pywell has resigned himself to it being ineffective.

He said: “Despite the officers coming down, the situation never changes. It just doesn’t make a difference to some people.

Stuart Pywell

“And it’s always the same selfish people. There doesn’t seem to be anything which will get through to them and change their attitude.”

The city council staff who visited St Stephen’s last month focused on parents who park on zig-zag lines, double yellows or dropped kerbs.

They handed out seven tickets in 30 minutes, including one to a driver who parked wholly on the pavement forcing mothers with pushchairs into the road.

The school attracts scores of children who do not live in the immediate St Stephen’s area and who are driven to school by parents or taxi.

A car blocks others in near St Stephen’s

Mr Pywell, who has been at the school for 28 years, is forced to act as an unofficial traffic warden on most days.

“I still go out of a morning and after school to talk to people to try to keep it under control,” he said.

“But it seems like there’s always going to be someone selfish who simply puts themselves first.

“The infant school is talking about repainting the yellow lines outside to try to get the message through.”

The council’s enforcement officers have handed out more 130 tickets since the start of January in an attempt to tackle a problem which affects many schools around the district.

Cllr Neil Baker, the council’s community chairman, says the work is about keeping the streets safe.

He said: “This is about ensuring people realise that parking where they shouldn’t can cause a real danger to others. There’s just no excuse for it and we will continue to make tackling this a key area of our work.

“Our officers also receive lots of backing from parents on the street, too, who are pleased to see us working hard to keep their children safe.”


  1. Cars on the pavement shown above were parked almost next to an official sign which clearly says ‘no parking on pavements or verges’ I have asked parents why they park in such places, thereby risking a fine, and have received the response “it’s like paying for a parking ticket” As the visits by enforcement officers are irregular, the chances of getting a ticket are slim, so over a year, to some inconsiderate persons, this is seen as cheap parking! Maybe the fines should be increased every time the same car is ticketed, not such cheap parking then!


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