POSSIBLE plans by Tameside Council to sell off a Stalybridge school car park for development has been described as a “recipe for disaster”.
Parents have raised safety concerns after the authority confirmed the car park opposite Stalyhill Infants and Hill Top Private Day Nursery is on a list of sites that are being considered for sale.
And with Stalyhill Juniors also close by, there is already huge congestion on Stalyhill Drive and surrounding roads twice each day.
Parents held an awareness day to highlight the issue and have organised a petition after being informed by the school about the potential sale.
Former parent governor Lynne Robinson, who collects her grandson Charlie Taylor, said: “I see dangers every day when I come to the school as it is mayhem, not only on Stalyhill Drive but also on Haycock Close.
“And it will get even worse with the loss of the car park as more vehicles will be forced on to the roads.”
Mrs Robinson was a parent governor when her son was a pupil at the school.
She said: “A boy was knocked down outside the school, admittedly a long time ago.
“We fought for hazard lines and also for the car park that Tameside Council now plans to sell.”
Mother Lorna Krisson, who has pupils at both the infants and junior schools, added: “It is very dangerous and I fear there is going to be an accident.
“The nursery is being extended and that will make things even worse. It is going to be horrendously bad and a recipe for disaster.”
She added there are car parking spaces for the disabled that will disappear.
“Some children have disabilities and require parking close to the school,” she explained. “If they are removed, where will they go?”
Sarah Lockey, another mother, said: “It is already dangerous to cross the road, and losing the car park will only exacerbate the situation.
“It is going to be horrendous from a safety aspect and there isn’t even a lollipop man outside the school.”
Parents Richard and Joanne Womack also voiced their concerns.
Joanne said: “With the day nursery expanding, we need more parking, not less.
“I have to come to the school 45 minutes before school ends to get a parking spot.
“A boy was knocked down on the road years ago and there was a fight to get the car park that is needed.”
Parking is concentrated on Stalyhill Drive as nearby Mottram Old Road doesn’t have pavements while in wet spells quickly becomes flooded.
Parents also point out the road outside the school is on a gradient that makes it dangerous in wintery conditions.
Another parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, explained he had looked on auction sites.
He said: “The council is selling off pieces of land, but not for massive amounts of money.
“Is it worth putting the safety of children at risk for not that much money? It isn’t worth it.”
Cllr Clive Patrick expressed his concern, especially as Hill Top is currently being enlarged to create two extra rooms that will generate even more traffic.
He said: “One of the conditions when the nursery was built was the car park was to be used at pick up and drop-off times.
“It is bedlem up there at those times, and it will become even worse when the car park is no longer in use.”
The Correspondent contacted Stalyhill Infants for a comment, but was redirected to Tameside Council.
And several calls to Hill Top Private Day Nursery were not returned.
A Tameside Council spokesperson said: “During an extensive public budget consultation in 2016, 79-per-cent of residents who responded were in favour of selling council land to maintain and safeguard frontline services.
“So while the car park land is not up for sale at the moment, it is on a list of sites Tameside Council may choose to dispose of over the next 12 to 18 months.
“However, we must stress that full consideration is given to locations, public amenity and access issues before any land is auctioned.
“When sold, the new owners need planning permission if they want to implement a change of use.
“All planning applications are subject to a statutory consultation process which gives members of the public a chance to comment.”