Broadclyst residents call for action over school traffic chaos

A group of Devon villagers are protesting that their village has been turned into a 'giant school car park' and are calling for a national conversation about the school commute.

Broadclyst, near Exeter, has 527 pupils and 88 members of staff at its primary school causing huge pressures on the village.

“Our beautiful, mediaeval village, one of the finest in England, has been turned into a giant school car park, severely reducing the quality of life for villagers and causing significant disruption,” said pressure group founder, Liz Straw.

“It’s time we stopped talking about the 'school run', racing to school and racing back, and started thinking about how we can get children to and from school in a way that is safer, less polluting and is considerate to local people. We live, work and play in the streets in which staff, children and parents come and go nearly all-day long.

“We’re told that school car parking is a problem across the country, yes, it is, so let’s start talking about it and start working towards solutions. Here, in Broadclyst, the problems are exacerbated  by the huge size of the school and its range of frenetic activities.”

Liz said that the number of children travelling by car was causing significant disruption to village life. Doctors are reporting that patients are arriving late for appointments, families and volunteers are struggling to collect elderly relatives from the Clyst Caring Day Centre, disabled people are unable to park, residents and their visiting families are unable to park and village hall users are also struggling to park.

Liz explained: “We’ve formed a pressure group, Slow Broadclyst, named to reflect the pace of village life – slow. We live here because we want a quieter, slower pace of life, village life, not a hectic, city life. Our quality of life is diminished by day-long traffic, significant parking problems, noise, people coming and going and, of course, the pollution.

“Forget the twice daily,10-minute drop off and pick up, that’s long gone.  Hundreds of cars descend daily on our village, from 7.15am until 6.30pm. This is the reality of a large school's, 'wraparound' school care. There are after school clubs, a large nursery, a teacher training school and, of course, numerous evening meetings. It’s not a community school, it’s a busy educational campus.

“Law and order has disappeared in Broadclyst, every school day cars and large vans park dangerously on junctions, on double yellows and nobody gets booked. Villagers are blocked in as cars and vans park across their drives. Our village car park and our residential streets are filled, creating difficulties for local people trying to use the village’s excellent services.

“Doctors tell us that it’s not unusual for parents to arrive late because they can’t park, people wanting to use the village hall, visit the church and graves are all struggling to park. Our much-loved village day care centre which provides vital support for the high population of older people struggles to drop off and collect patients who have either no or very limited mobility.”

Broadclyst is part of the National Trust’s Killerton estate and has two properties which rely on the village car park. Cones have now appeared outside the Trust’s mediaeval house Markers Cottage as school traffic park on its cobbled footpath.

Slow Broadclyst wants the police to take action, the school to encourage car sharing and local authorities to step in and help the community.