Bus Parking in Swale
The Seafront and Engineering Manager introduced the report which provided information around possible options that could be considered to address problems with school buses parking in the Borough.
A KCC Member thanked the officer for the report, said that each option needed to be individually considered and he suggested that any future planned schools should have the provision for proper drop-off and parking facilities for parents but also parking provision for buses on the school site. He also said there should be a more detailed report setting out the impact each possible remedy might have on an individual site, to be brought back to a future JTB meeting with recommendations.
In the debate that followed, Members raised points including:
· Referred to a historical suggestion of installing double yellow lines to the entrance of one particular bus depot so that buses could return to the depot during the day;
· some school buses in Bell Road, Sittingbourne were parking on single or double yellow lines causing congestion, and this was very dangerous;
· Fulston Manor school did not provide the agreed parking for collection and drop-off when the school extension was approved and this needed to be looked at again;
· should include a parking restriction condition when considering the school bus contract tender;
· should discourage car use and encourage other ways of travelling to school;
· referred to school travel plans and said there needed to be a more comprehensive approach of how children got to school and minimise car use;
· more yellow lines were not the solution;
· more enforcement was needed;
· joint approach from SBC and KCC was required; and
· most school buses were commercially run, not tendered bus services;
A KCC Member said that parents had a choice of where to send their children to school and should not be restricted on how far a child should travel. He referred to the Government’s plans for production of electric cars only by 2030 and said there was a need for more electric charging points at schools around the Borough, but these plans were best facilitated through the school travel plan. The same Member drew attention to the issues caused at Westlands School now that buses no longer parked within the school and he also spoke of the facilities needed to be provided to accommodate car drivers when planning new schools.
The same Member proposed that the Swale JTB write to SBC and KCC asking that, where appropriate, proper drop off and pick up and parking facilities were installed for buses, in any proposed new schools, particularly the planned school at Grovehurst. The proposal was seconded.
As the proposal sought to impose planning conditions on future planning applications for schools, the Cabinet Member for Planning and members of the Planning Committee were advised to abstain from voting. On being put to the vote, the Chairman used his casting vote and the proposal was agreed.
(1) That the Swale JTB wrote to Swale Borough Council and Kent County Council asking that where, appropriate, proper drop off, pick up and parking facilities were installed for buses, in any proposed new schools , particularly the planned school at Grovehurst, Sittingbourne.