School drop-off zone shut by ice

The drop off zone at Jesmond Gardens Primary School, in Hartlepool.
The drop off zone at Jesmond Gardens Primary School, in Hartlepool.

PARENTS said rush-hour traffic outside a school descended into “chaos” after the drop-off zone for parents was closed due to icy conditions.

Jesmond Gardens Primary School, in Hartlepool, made the decision to close the zone after overnight temperatures dropped below freezing, making conditions “extremely treacherous.”

The small area, off Jesmond Gardens directly outside the school, provides around a dozen short-stay parking spaces for parents dropping their children off and picking them back up.

But parents on the school run were forced to pull over on the roadside and stop on the busy stretch due to the closure of the area on Monday morning.

The school then sent out a text message later in the day warning parents that the same action will be taken again in icy conditions when the school re-opens after the Christmas break.

Jane Loomes, headteacher at the school, said the decision was made in the interests of safety and the area is too big for the school to grit.

But parents have expressed their concerns about the closure of the drop-off zone when temperatures drop.

Donna Halcrow, 27, a mum-of-three who lives in the Oxford Road area of Hartlepool, said: “I don’t think the school realised the path and parking area would be so slippy.

“I have seen the caretaker out and about trying to grit as much as he can, but if he doesn’t have enough salt what can he do?

“It was quite chaotic on Monday morning, there was a build up of traffic.”

Another parent, who did not want to be named, was left fuming after the closure.

He said: “They can’t expect parents to drop children off on the main road when the drop-off zone closes.

“It was absolute chaos on Monday morning, children were having to get out of the cars on the main road.

“If that continues someone will end up being killed.

“The camera car went past as well so no doubt lots of parents will find themselves with fines.”

Ms Loomes said: “I took the decision to close the vehicle drop-off area before pupils started arriving on Monday, December 19, in the interests of safety.

“In the early morning, rain had fallen on top of ice and the conditions were exceptionally treacherous.

“I can understand parents’ frustrations, but in situations like this we have to put the safety of pupils and the public first.

“It is too big an area for the school to grit, but we are exploring other options to address the situation.

“In the meantime, all parents have been contacted to remind them that the drop-off zone will continue to close if similar situations arise to give them every opportunity to consider alternative arrangements.”