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Parents ‘abusing school parking vouchers’ in notorious Hampstead school-run blackspot

PUBLISHED: 10:44 21 June 2013 | UPDATED: 10:44 21 June 2013

Siobhan Ezra is one of the residents upset by the school run parking chaos in Arkwright Road, Hampstead. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Siobhan Ezra is one of the residents upset by the school run parking chaos in Arkwright Road, Hampstead. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Fresh calls have been made for school parking vouchers to be scrapped amid claims parents are abusing the system and clogging up the streets of Hampstead.

Frustrated residents of Arkwright Road – who have two primaries on their doorstep – say the free permits are instead sometimes used for shopping trips and that they make matters worse in an area already notorious as a school-run black spot.

Scores of vouchers are handed out in Hampstead under Camden Council’s school parking dispensation scheme – despite town hall bosses long making promises to withdraw permits for parents.

Arkwright Road resident Karen Wolman said: “There’s no place to park in front of my house. The point is that the residents’ bays should be for residents.

“There is not a great sensitivity shown by school parents and the residents feel as if they are being barricaded in.”

Her neighbour Blanka Perse, 54, said: “It’s a nightmare. I can’t leave the house at certain times due to the traffic.

“It’s impossible here, it’s all jammed because of all these cars that really shouldn’t be here.”

The permits allow drivers to stop for 15 minutes in residents’ bays or single yellow lines on weekdays from 8am to 9.30am and 3pm until 6.30pm.

Yet there is nothing to say what time the car was parked – and residents claim this leads to abuse.

They also complain that the tickets are valid throughout the summer holiday and the time windows are too wide.

Siobhan Ezra, of Arkwright Road Residents’ Committee, which is calling for the vouchers to be scrapped, said: “These people who’ve got these vouchers can use them in the summer to nip into Hampstead, do a bit of shopping in Tesco, go for a quick coffee in Starbucks.

“The parking wardens are too scared to confront the school mothers. The wardens cannot do anything about the misuse of these tickets.”

Devonshire House Preparatory School, one of two schools in Arkwright Road, has 60 permits to allocate to parents.

Headteacher Stephanie Piper insisted they are given only to parents who need them, such as those who are pregnant.

She said: “We keep a record of who has each permit and, if any parent doesn’t behave, we will take their permit away.”

A council spokesman said a total of 500 vouchers are shared out across the borough under the dispensation scheme, mainly for nursery and primary schools.

He added: “There are strict terms and conditions around the use of these dispensations and we have no evidence to suggest that the system is being abused.”


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