School parking debate after Haywards Heath firefighters’ plea

The fire engine was nearly blocked by parked cars
The fire engine was nearly blocked by parked cars

A fire engine was nearly stuck in a Wivelsfield road due to cars parked outside a primary school which is planning an extension.

Wivelsfield Parish Council will raise parking concerns when it discusses the proposed extension to Wivelsfield Primary School, after firefighters pleaded for more considerate parking.

The crew from Haywards Heath was attending a home fire safety check, not responding to an emergency call, when they were almost blocked in.

But Matt Myerscough, watch manager at Haywards Heath Fire Station, said careless parking could have tragic consequences in the event of an emergency.

He said: “Some areas of Haywards Heath are particularly prone to careless parking and could prevent us getting through to resolve an emergency situation.

“Please think when parking on a road which has narrow access about how emergency vehicles would get through in a life critical situation.”

A spokesperson for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service added: “Careless or thoughtless parking can have a very real impact on the time it takes our appliances to attend an incident and could put lives at risk.

“We are just asking people when they park to think twice about whether they have left enough room for a fire engine or other emergency vehicle to get through.

“Just remember – it could be your home we’re trying to get to or your family member we are trying to rescue.”

A Wivelsfield Parish Council spokesman said: “The parish council is aware that parking in the vicinity of Wivelsfield Primary School is an issue at school drop-off and pick-up times, as it is around many schools.

“The parking situation is something the parish council intends to comment upon in its response to the application for a proposed extension to the school, currently being consulted upon by East Sussex County Council.

“In order to try to reduce the incidence of on-street parking in the future, the Wivelsfield Neighbourhood Plan will require all new homes to have a minimum of two off-street parking spaces.

“The council recognises that, with the best will in the world, parents are not always able to leave their cars at home and walk children to school.

“As such, whilst it would urge those that are able, to do so, the parish council would like to remind those parents/carers doing the school run by car to park considerately, thinking about safety and access for other residents, pedestrians and the emergency services.”

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