Its getting messy in Brentwood. Traffic wardens have suffered a string of physical and verbal assaults, they have also been pushed, tickets have been snatched and on one delightful day they were stoned by irate parents! One assailant got a one-year custodial sentence for the assault on a warden. The director of environmental services at Brentwood Council said “We normally send a pair of wardens and on a number of occasions they have been accompanied by PCSOs or police because of the reaction they get”. All these incidents have happened on Sawyers Hall Lane in Brentwood, Essex which is a dead-end road with five schools along it.
Traffic backs up in the morning and evening as parents try and collect their offspring outside the school gates, often blocking local driveways. One parent explains: “The situation is totally ridiculous. I have to get here for 2.15pm if I want a space”. She said that she had had paint thrown over her car and a large sticker warning her not to park there super-glued to her windscreen. A local resident said the situation was horrendous and that they “were suffering terribly” and that was impossible to get out at some times of day. One several occasions cars had been driven over local residents’ front garden.
The above report was from 2009, although things are hardly better by February 2010 with parents claiming that they are ‘forced’ to park in dangerous places outside the school. One parent said “I didn’t realise I wasn’t supposed to park here, the yellow lines are a bit faded.” Another parent said who was parked half on the double yellow lines claimed it did not matter because the traffic wardens no longer visited.
Then in July 2010 parents complained that wardens were using “sneaky” tactics because they issued tickets on a sports day on a Sunday complaining that parking enforcement was rarely carried out during busy school picking-up and dropping-off times. A parent said “How mean to deliberately target a family day, where kids, mums, dads and grandparents, were coming together for a sporting event – rather than let their kids roam the streets or sit in front of the computer – just to make money.” The school helpfully issued a warning on the public address system saying “traffic wardens are operating in Sawyers Hall Lane and are ticketing your vehicles”.
Well… I guess it is hardly surprising if the traffic wardens don’t visit at the busy times these days given what happened to them when they did. This sort of conflict is unfortunately only going to happen more often given the relentless rise in vehicle numbers and the current governments claim that they will ‘end the war on the motorist‘.