Scrapping teacher parking permits will hit Westcliff school

Scrapping an “educational parking permit” for teachers around a Westcliff school could “impact staff retention and recruitment”, it has been claimed.

Kevin Buck, formerly Southend councillor responsible for parking, has slammed the Labour-led administration’s plan to ditch a scheme to allow 60 teachers from St Bernard’s High School to park in a residents-only area.

He claims the scheme was introduced after the school, in Milton Road, contacted the council to help the parking issues teachers were facing.

At a meeting of Southend Council’s traffic regulations working party last week, the new administration said it was unlikely to go ahead with the scheme when a pilot study finishes in July.

Cllr Buck, Conservative councillor for Prittlewell ward, said: “The council was approached by St Bernard’s school, to see what solutions may be available, to help with the difficulties their staff were having with parking following the introduction of the Milton controlled parking zone.

“In consultation with the highways officers, the ‘Educational Permit’ was conceived.”

The permits allow parking in the zone from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Cllr Buck added: “Almost all staff currently employed at the St Bernard’s school were in post before the Milton controlled parking zone was put in place. This means that their employed circumstances have significantly changed, without any consideration or recourse.

“This is placing additional pressures on our highly valued educational facilities, as it makes staff retention and recruitment much more difficult.”

The permits, which have been free during the trial period, would have cost £175 a year had they gone ahead.

Cllr Buck said: “To suggest that the shortfall of £10,500 could be made up by existing users purchasing much more expensive seasonal passes would be wholly incorrect, ill advised and extremely fiscally naïve.”

Daniel Cowan, leader of the council, said: “Mr Buck raises a lot of questions and I will consider the points he has raised on their merits. However, he must understand that he introduced this scheme without proper consultation and according to residents, he has completely ignored their views and concerns. I’ve heard concerns of the residents and will looking for a fair way forward.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter