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Monday, April 5, 2010

You'll pay the price, rogue drivers warned

PEOPLE who fall foul of new measures to tackle congestion in a Ponteland street have been warned they will pay the penalty.
And a local councillor is hoping the police will back up their words with action to reduce the problems in Thornhill Road at the start and end of the school day.

Richard Coates Middle School and Ponteland First School are next to each other on the street.

Complaints about cars parking along the road and on pavements when taking pupils to and from school — which parents, local residents and councillors say reduces an already narrow road and puts children's safety at risk — have intensified since the first school moved there in 2007.

So in a bid to tackle the issue following discussions between the schools, Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Police, new double and single yellow lines were introduced at the start of the year.

Team Traffic Manager for Northumberland County Council Alan Bawn said the parking plate signs for the single yellow lines, prohibiting parking in key areas between 8.30am to 9.30am and 3pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday, have now been installed.

And Neighbourhood Inspector for East Tynedale Kevin Oates said: "Fixed Penalty Notices will be issued to drivers who park illegally in Thornhill Road.

"I would appeal to people who are attending the school to park legally in the area and avoid causing congestion. I appreciate this may involve a short walk from nearby car parking facilities."

There were traffic calming measures along the road already, including a 20mph speed limit and speed cushions. A zebra crossing and other road markings were put in place last year.

But many complaints have been made that indiscriminate parking on Thornhill Road is reducing the highway to single lane traffic and causing visibility problems for pedestrians.

Ponteland North county councillor Richard Dodd, who has been campaigning for new measures for a number of years, said: "I have still seen people parking on the yellow lines since they were put down so I hope the police and traffic wardens will regularly enforce the regulations like they have been doing outside County Hall."

Richard Coates Headteacher Paul Rusby said it has been working with other organisations to make the street as safe as possible for pupils as they go to and leave school and thanked parents for their support on the issue.

"I think the yellow lines will have a positive effect and help to address the congestion problem," he added.

Lynn Blain, Ponteland First School Headteacher, said: "We are committed to making sure access to and from the school is as safe as possible and the recent developments are a step in the right direction.

"It also requires education of the whole school community, including children and parents, about the importance of walking or parking in a village car park then walking the rest of the way whenever possible as well as effective enforcement of parking restrictions by the police."