Parking war in the Garden of England turns ‘NASTY’: Long-running battle between locals and school-run parents descends into ‘screaming’ threats of violence… and now they’re installing BOLLARDS
An unholy row has erupted in a usually tranquil corner of the Garden of England over the thorny issue of parking.
Situated on an ancient road to the Kent coast, the bustling village of Wingham has a Norman church, three pubs, a traditional bakery, a friendly village shop and mobile post office and banking services. Celebrity baker Paul Hollywood lived here before separating from his wife Alexandra.
But a long-simmering dispute over access to the 29 spaces outside the Village Hall has suddenly exploded into threats of violence, verbal abuse, allegations of endangering children and the erection of metal bollards.
Village shopkeeper Lauren Senior told MailOnline: ‘It’s got really nasty!
‘People have been shouting and screaming at each other over those parking spaces.
Exasperated committee members at Wingham Village Hall shamed ‘unsafe’ parkers with shocking snaps showing several cars dumped across double yellow lines
A sign in Wingham warns drivers that ‘pavements are for people’ amid a furious row over car parking spaces in the village
Villagers are unhappy at the parents causing chaos at the local village hall whilst dropping their children off at the local Primary School
New anti parking bollards were being erected in The Village hall car park on Friday.Locals in the village of Wingham are unhappy at the parents casuing chaos at the local village hall whilst dropping their children off at the Village Primary School.
In a bad-tempered rant, residents of School Lane and the village hall management committee accused parents of endangering the lives of elderly residents and children alike
An aerial view of Wingham, in Kent, where a major row has broken out over parking spaces outside the village hall
School-run parents are causing chaos for locals by parking on pavements and in the village hall in upmkarket Wingham, Kent
Simon Willis posted a public post showing the multiple signs at the hall declaring ‘This car park is Village Hall property. NO UNAUTHORISED USE’
‘Hard-pressed parents park up first thing in the morning and in the afternoon to drop off and pick up their kids.
‘People who live in the road – which is called School Lane – and the people in charge of the Village Hall say they are not allowed to do so.
‘But what else do they expect them to do?’
Pictures of cars parked badly and blocking the village hall fire exit posted on to the Wingham Village Facebook page enflamed an already tense situation.
One resident named Simon Willis felt compelled to issue another public post showing the multiple signs at the hall declaring ‘This car park is Village Hall property. NO UNAUTHORISED USE’.
Simon said in the Facebook post: ‘I notice in some of the comments that some have not noticed the signs in the Wingham Village Hall car park.
‘I have lived here 45 years and they have been there as long as I can remember.
‘I would also like to congratulate all those who walk their children to school which considerably reduces the CO2 emissions and promotes fitness and health.’
However the post sparked a row amongst angry local and parents of pupils at the nearby school who were quick to hit back at Simon for overlooking the ‘dangerous’ nearby main road – which some parents claim stops ‘safe school drop-offs’.
Mother-of-two Stacie Garside said she always gets there early and parks respectfully
Mother Stacie said you’re not guaranteed a space if you park further out like the village hall management team suggests
Dad-of-two Paul Wells (pictured), 55, said he understood why people with young children would want to park close to the school
The village hall car park is littered with no parking signs which the parents ‘ignore’
Parents of children who attend Wingham Primary School (pictured) and park in the village hall car parking spaces have sparked fury from local residents
Mother-of-two Stacie said: ‘I can’t walk to school, so I always get there early and I park respectfully. I don’t understand the issue.
‘They want people to park further down in Wingham, but you’re not guaranteed a space.
‘And you don’t have a zebra crossing on the main road that’s busy all day and night. There is no other safe access.
‘I could fully understand if it was teenagers or young drivers playing loud music and smoking but everyone is sitting there nicely, waiting for their kids to come. 15 minutes later they’re gone.’
In a bad-tempered rant, residents of School Lane and the village hall management committee accused parents of endangering the lives of elderly residents and children alike.
They maintain that the prized parking spaces are only for those using the Village Hall.
This includes 18 toddlers and staff who make up the nursery, the half-a-dozen participants at the weekly painting classes and visitors to the occasional of the cake-baking competition and antique fairs.
But not the parents of the 210 youngsters who attend Wingham Primary School next door.
They wrote: ‘Issues have been steadily increasing each year.
‘The main issue are primary school parents using the Village Hall’s ‘private’ car park for dropping off and collecting their children.
‘This has led to users of the hall being unable to park and neighbouring properties being denied access to their own properties.
‘As you can see from the photos, these are some of the challenges we are currently facing.
‘The safety of children, residents and hall users is of paramount important and these examples demonstrate a blatant disregard for the safety of others with potentially life-threatening consequences.’
Resident Sue Willis, 76, said: ‘I’ve lived here for 45 years and the situation has got worse and worse.
‘An ambulance or a fire engine could not get up lane.
‘Is it going to take someone dying or someone’s house to burn down for something to get done?’
Resident Sue Willis, 76, (pictured) said: ‘I’ve lived here for 45 years and the situation has got worse and worse.’
Parent Dudley Ross said he will continue to park in the car park until there is a ‘safe alternative’
Joiner Alan Martin (pictured) said: ‘They’ve been parking on my drive and turning around on my lawn. We’ve had enough!’
Parents Dave Brett (right) and Chloe Gibson (left) told MailOnline, they have no choice but to drive
Joiner Alan Martin said: ‘They’ve been parking on my drive and turning around on my lawn. We’ve had enough!’
Another resident, a retired policeman called Trevor added: ‘This guy parked on my driveway then he threatened to fight me when I challenged him.’
‘Another driver knocked my wall down when they turned around.
However, parents have reacted with fury at the anger directed at them simply for dropping off and picking up their young children from school.
The only other car park in the village is located a ten-minute walk away and involves crossing the busy A257 trunk road.
Parents Dave Brett and Chloe Gibson told MailOnline, they have no choice but to drive.
Chloe, 33, told MailOnline: ‘We live three miles away in Ash. There are no buses or footpaths so we have to drive.’
Mother-of-one Emma, 23, added: ‘My daughter is vulnerable and she can’t walk very far. Also I start work at 9am and if I don’t drive her to school I’ll be late for work.’I can’t believe how unreasonable these village hall people are being.
‘We need to park here.’
A long-simmering dispute over access to the 29 spaces outside the Village Hall has suddenly exploded into threats of violence, verbal abuse, allegations of endangering children and the erection of metal bollards
One resident wrote on Facebook: ‘I don’t understand what the big issue is with allowing parents to park at the car park during pick up and drop off’
Mother-of-one Emma, 23, (pictured) said: ‘My daughter is vulnerable and she can’t walk very far.’
Paul Wells, father-of-two, said it can be dangerous in the area so he understands why parents want to park close
Paul Wells, 55, (pictured) said: ‘I get why people – especially with younger children – would want to park close. It’s dangerous.’
Mother-of-two Stacie Garcide, 36, said: ‘I can’t walk to school.
‘We don’t have a zebra crossing on the main road that’s busy day and night.
‘There is no other safe access.
‘I always get there early and park respectfully. I don’t understand the issue.’
Dad-of-two Paul Wells, 55, said: ‘I get why people – especially with younger children – would want to park close. It’s dangerous.’
Parent Dudley Ross added: ‘Until there’s a safe alternative, I’m parking there.
‘We nearly got run over trying to cross the main road. It’s not safe at all!’
Reacting to the Facebook post, mother-of-two Imge Rougvie wrote: ‘I don’t understand what the big issue is with allowing parents to park at the car park during pick up and drop off.
‘If anything it should be us parents who should be complaining because we deal with the stress of trying to park our car everyday just to pick up and drop off our kids and you are adding to that stress for no reason!
‘You said about safety of the children but if you really thought about the safety of children then you wouldn’t want us to park on the main road?’
Members of Wingham Parish Council declined to comment on the parking row when contacted by MailOnline by phone and email.