A community council has refused to comment after a young mother was almost knocked down as traffic issues around a local school worsen following the council’s decision to prevent parents parking in an adjacent car park. ??The controversy at Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni has rumbled on since last summer , when Llantilio Pertholey Community Council suddenly brought to a halt the informal arrangement which had previously allowed parents use of the car park at the village hall next to the Mardy school during busy drop off and collection times.
Terrified mum Laura Price, 25, said she was close to being run down by a 4x4 last week outside the school while taking her young daughter to the Clych Meithrin
“I was dropping my daughter Lily, off at nursery and had my seven month old son in a double buggy,” said Laura.
“We were waiting by the school gates by where the taxis drop off. It was busy and gridlocked. There was no way anyone could really move so I walked across the road.
“Just before I got on to the kerb a woman who had been waiting in the traffic queue began to pull forward. I tried to push the buggy away bit it got stuck on the kerb. I started screaming and hitting her windscreen and eventually she realised what was going on and stopped.”
“She got out and was genuinely shocked and we both started crying. All of this could have been avoided if the council had just opened the gates and allowed parents to park there to drop off their children in safety.” ?
Laura is now demanding the safety of children and their parents be considered, and has called on the council to re-open the car park for parents, and help prevent incidents like the one she says could have been so much worse.
“If this carries on someone is going to be seriously hurt or even killed,” she said.
“Our children’s lives are being put at risk.”
A furore erupted last week on social media, with many parents claiming that traffic was ‘chaotic’ during morning and afternoon peak times causing serious safety concerns.
Councillor Tudor Thomas, of Abergavenny’s Priory Ward, said that dialogue must be opened between parents, the schools and the community council. ??
“I just hope common-sense prevails. My main concern is that a youngster, or a parent, is going to get knocked down,” he said. ??
“I have been in touch with Monmouthshire County Council, in the past, with the hope that they will come and look at the issue. I’ve also had PCSO Amanda Yung involved. ?
?“The head teacher and teaching staff have been out every morning, directing traffic. That is laudable, but it is not their job to do this.
“I do hope the hall committee starts a dialogue with the school to try and sort it out.”
Before last summer parents were allowed to use the village hall car park during busy drop off and pick up times and the school did try to formalise the casual agreement with the community council, which has claimed the decision to lock the gates is a health and safety issue.
The car park is now ‘out of bounds’ and open only to those who have booked use of the village hall. ??Mrs Price, supported by a host of other parents, suggested last week that the car park should be reopened, with parents allowed a maximum of 30 minutes staying time, before being asked to move on.
This, she said, would solve the issues surrounding both the parents and the concerns of local community councillors.
Meanwhile, Monmouthshire County Council said it was in talks with interested parties to resolve the problem, and Welsh Government funding could play some part. ???
“Monmouthshire County Council is aware of the issues at the school and the safety of pupils is paramount. The highways department is working with the school and community council to help alleviate the issues,” said Paul Keeble, a group engineer at MCC. ??
“Recently, the highways team were successful at securing Welsh Government funding through the Safer Routes to School initiative. The funding is hoped to be used to provide the school with solutions to make the environment safer including the provision of a crossing on St David’s Road to improve safety and encourage more children to walking to school.
“The Highways team will continue to work with the community council to seek their support to re-open the gates during school time.”
Despite issuing a statement via social media Llantilio Pertholey Community Council refused to comment on th Chronicle’s story.
Council clerk Robert Wade said, “I will enquire of the chairman whether the council should become involved in this way, and who would be best qualified to give the council’s side of the story.
“It may have to await a decision of the whole council, and the next meeting will be on April 18. As you will appreciate, it is not my decision at the end of the day. I will revert to you as soon as possible.”
Llantilio Pertholey Community Council is made up of 13 councillors, each elected for five-year terms. After recent elections in May 2017, there remains a number of councillor vacancies. ??Community Council Members: are: Councillor G G Cowan (chairman), Councillor M D Hughes, Councillor Malcolm Lane, Councillor Ms N Watkins, Councillor M T Skinner, Councillor M Ewers, Councillor J Gray.
There are currently six vacant seats on the council.