Parents and residents could come blows over parking near schools in “nasty” kerbside rows, a meeting heard.

Concerns over obstruction, verbal abuse and the potential for worse because of parking around schools were raised as residents’ parking zone arrangements for Stockton are being reviewed. The update came with a warning that such zones were not the solution people believed them to be.

“I’d like something done about where we are with schools, where people are parking outside of residents’ houses and residents can’t get in and out of their own drives,” Councillor Bill Woodhead said in a Stockton Council meeting.

“We recently had an incident where a person couldn’t get out of the drive because of the parking in their road. They were met with abuse because they wanted to get out of their drive by the person who shouldn’t have been parking there.

“It was very colourful language that was used as well. It’s not very nice.

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“It’s everywhere we have a school there’s problems, and we never seem to be able to alleviate them. As councillors we can’t legislate for people’s behaviour.

“It’s awful, the situation. It’s not only where we have a school, it’s where everyone has a school.


Councillor Bill Woodhead

Councillor Bill Woodhead


“How we overcome it I do not know. It’s something I just feel wants looking at seriously.

“It could lead to some very nasty situations where someone could get hurt. It could get physical.”

He spoke at a the meeting of the council’s place select committee, which heard an update on a review of residents’ parking zones, using permits and traffic regulation orders. A report said there were regular requests for such zones from people living near shopping centres, hospitals and schools.

It said the zones, which cost £10,000 to £20,000 to introduce, can keep people safe and healthy by managing parking in oversubscribed areas, but the consequences of the schemes are not always clear and a balance needs to be struck between businesses, which might be harmed by a zone, and impact on residents.

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The report said the policy had not been fully reviewed for almost 20 years and the review would tie in with the town centre regeneration proposals. There are currently six zones in the borough – Hardwick estate, Stockton town centre, Trinity Gardens, Station Road in Eaglescliffe, Yarm High Street and Yarm town centre west.

A revised policy is being drafted with recommendations to define the permits, eligibility and consultation clearly, with permits to be considered for single streets as well as zones, an enforcement plan, an audit of existing zones and efforts to help people understand them, including a flowchart.

Joanne Roberts, the council’s transport strategy and road safety manager, said a two-thirds majority from residents and businesses in favour was needed to introduce a scheme and the pricing structure would be fair and proportionate. There will be a consultation on the policy after the May local elections.

Cllr Louise Baldock said they wanted to help all councillors understand the policy on parking zones: “So that they can support their residents, either by helping them to apply for such a thing or encouraging them to forget about that and find another way to alleviate the problems they might have with parking in their area.


Cllr Louise Baldock

Cllr Louise Baldock


“We all know there’s no panacea. And we know… residents’ parking schemes are not the answer that people imagine they are.”

The council’s report said many people thought residents’ parking zones had no downsides. But issues arose including costs, enforcement, the burden on resources, moving the problems to other areas and no guarantees of spaces for residents or visitors.

It added an updated policy may lead to fewer requests and a more efficient way of dealing with them. It said most requests were turned down because there were no justifiable reasons for them or they were not supported by a majority of residents.