Redmaids’ High: We're trying to tackle parking
Published on: 28 Nov 2017
A number of concerns have been raised by neighbours living near the Redmaids’ High site on Westbury Road about the amount of traffic and parking issues during the main hours of drop-off and pick-up at the school.
Senior staff from Redmaids’ High School are keen that the local community is aware of the steps the school has taken to rectify the problem and of initiatives that have been proposed to Bristol City Council.
Deputy Head of School, Kate Doarks, the Bursar, Peter Taylor and the Head of the Junior School, Lisa Brown have been holding meetings with Councillors Geoff Gollop and Clare Campion-Smith outlining plans to minimise traffic disturbances since February. The school have had consultations with the council highways department and have put a number of proposals forward, including a plan for increased parking on site which was unfortunately refused.
Kate Doarks said: “Neighbours would like us to park more cars on site; however the planning department at the council’s policy is to reduce the feasibility of driving to work and so they have refused our request.
“We were awaiting a response from the highways department about our proposal to have a single yellow line painted on the road next to the bus stop on Westbury Road. This would stop parking there during peak times to make it into a safe dropping-off zone and allow space for about ten parents’ cars.
"We have offered to fund the cost of the Traffic Regulation Order needed to carry out the work and have been advised that it could take nine months to complete. Also, we have offered to absorb any further costs attached. Yesterday we heard that they have refused this too on the grounds that it is against policy to encourage parents to drive to school.
“Whilst we endorse this sentiment and are doing our very best to encourage alternative options to driving, we still need the council’s support to help us manage the roads safely.”
In the meantime, parents can drop off on site before 8am, pick up after 5pm and have all received letters from Redmaids’ High reminding them of the importance of road safety, asking them to consider dropping their daughters off further away from school. The school has joined the ‘Living Streets’ initiative that encourages children to actively travel to school, earning monthly badges for each target met. Temporary parking spaces have been rented out for staff at Henleaze Bowls Club and Bikeability training offered to encourage more cycling by pupils and teachers. The school has also put in a request to the council for investment in safer cycling and walking pathways.
Staff explored bringing coaches on to site, but the key companies feel it is too dangerous to do so. However, minibuses do drop off within the grounds.
At the school’s request, the council has repainted the ‘no parking’ zone outside the Junior School. Meetings have been held jointly with nearby St Ursula’s E-ACT Academy to create links and form a united strategy.
“Like the neighbours, we are very concerned that Bristol City Council have not fully appreciated the serious concerns we have and whilst turning down many of our proposals, have not offered any other feasible solutions,” said Kate Doarks.
Headmistress Isabel Tobias said: "As well as our meetings with the Councillors and the highways department, we have written to the local MP, Darren Jones, to ask for support in addressing this issue.
“As a school we have always been concerned about traffic safety and take our part in this very seriously. We are keen to do anything to improve safety but we are presently waiting for the council and highways to help us to do more.”
Councillor Geoff Gollop said: "We now have a situation where both residents and the school are unhappy. The school is now very much aware of the traffic pressures and I am keen to work with them in trying to persuade the council to help mitigate.
"Given that the school is prepared to fund the changes, it is frustrating that the council is reluctant to engage in finding a solution."