A parish council fed up with “nightmare traffic” on a busy Burton road, has joined forces with a secondary school to stamp out the problem, which is causing serious concern for people’s safety.
Staff at de Ferrers Academy have joined forces with Outwoods Parish Council to tackle the ongoing traffic problem on Harehedge Lane, which has become a “nightmare” during term time.
Outwoods Parish Council chairman John Anderson said that complaints have been made for years and “schoolchildren of all ages risk life and limb daily” when using the lane, as a result of problem parking.
He said “frustrated drivers have nearly come to blows on many occasions” and “bus drivers sit stationary, trapped in a traffic stalemate tearing their hair out daily".
He said: “Some parking has been included in the plans for the adjacent Glenville Farm housing estate which has planning permission for 500 houses.
"This may make some difference but it is unlikely to be the long-term solution we are looking for. It is certainly not much of a solution anyway when there seem to be no plans to create these spaces in the near future.
“When discussions took place over St Modwen’s School being built in Tutbury Road there were plans showing a link road joining Tutbury Road with Rolleston Road and the school entrance being on the new link road.
"This made sense on several counts, including relieving the pressure on Harehedge Lane and the school entrance being away from the busy A511 Tutbury Road but the link road seems to be forgotten now and we are left with problem parking around St Modwen’s school entrance and an absolute nightmare on Harehedge Lane on every school day. "
Councillor Roy Hall, from Outwoods Parish Council, agreed that the traffic there during term time presents a “serious problem".
He said: “The road is narrow and becomes totally gridlocked, with vehicles having to use the pavement in order to be able to get around each other. This puts pedestrians and especially children at risk. If it were not for a degree of give and take by most drivers it would not work at all.
“This problem is not going to go away, if anything it will get worse. We need someone in authority from Stafford Highways to take this problem seriously, and try to find some sort of solution."
As part of their plans to get a resolution, the parish council approached Nick Holmes, head teacher at de Ferrers Academy who said the problems are causing concern about student safety as pupils travel to and from school.
He said: “Both the Governors and Parents' Focus Group regularly discuss the issues and we are keen to work to improve the current situation."
County councillor Philip White represents the Dove division. He said it was his “number one priority” to solve the issues and has made a promising start to tackling the issues since he was elected.
Mr White said: “I made a pledge during the county election campaign that I would make it my number one priority to solve the parking and traffic problems in our area and Harehedge Lane is the most important part of this project.
“Since my election in May I have spoken to Outwoods Parish Council about my intention to finally fix this issue and I have successfully lobbied the county council to get permission to form an all-agencies working group to find better solutions to the problems on this road.
“There is still much more to do, but I am pleased that we have made such a promising start in the two months since my election.”
Helen Fisher, cabinet support member for Highways at Staffordshire County Council, said the team was aware of residents' concerns about the road and action was being taken.
She said: “The matter has been a priority for local member Philip White and he has already convened a meeting next week between the county council highways teams, borough council and police to identify further safety measures that could be considered.
"As part of the wider housing development plans for land north of Harehedge Lane, we recommended that two mini roundabouts be installed at the junctions of Harehedge Lane, Rolleston Road and Bitham Lane. This would slow traffic down on the approaches to the junction.
"These plans have now been granted outline planning permission. We will also look seriously at any recommendations made by the new working group.
“In the meantime, we would always remind people to drive and park responsibly and be considerate to other drivers, children and their parents when driving near schools.”
East Staffordshire borough councillor Duncan Goodfellow, who represents Tutbury and Outwoods, said: “The problems along Harehedge Lane, and parking around schools generally are a consistently difficult issue, and I know that they have been ongoing here in some form or another for many years.
“It is obviously important that all stakeholders are involved and engaged in the process to try and resolve this, including the schools, councillors, residents, and the police. I am pleased that since his election in May, our new county councillor Philip White has already committed his support in leading the charge to work toward a solution."