'Spy car' to catch dangerously parked vehicles outside Blackburn and Darwen schools

The authority said it was taking action after receiving complaints from schools and residents

The authority said it was taking action after receiving complaints from schools and residents

First published in News
Last updated

PARENTS who park dangerously outside Blackburn and Darwen schools are set to be caught by a ‘spy car’ after the council sought greater powers to fine motorists.

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has voted to apply to the Department for Transport for extra enforcement powers to punish drivers for inconsiderate parking.

The authority said it was taking action after receiving complaints from schools and residents about dangerous and bad parking across the borough.

MORE TOP STORIES:

The new measures, set to be rubbber stamped by central government, would focus particularly on areas around schools and public transport priority areas, for example, the interchange outside Blackburn train station.

They will include the introduction of a controversial £50,000 plus ‘spy car’, which will target parents stopping on double yellow lines outside schools and motorists clogging up new bus lanes being created for the Pennine Reach scheme to speed journeys between Blackburn and Accrington.

Parking enforcement officers could also be drafted in to problem areas and would be able to to send penalty charge notices directly to vehicle owners by post as well as hand out parking tickets.

At the moment only the police can use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to identify the owner of vehicles breaking traffic laws and then issue fines to the owner’s home.

Headteachers have welcomed the ‘excellent move', with many saying they had already approached the council to ask for help to deal with the issue.

Councillors also hope it will help ease pressure on police, who may not have the time to deal with parking issues.

Stuart Plowes, headteacher at Avondale Primary School in Darwen, said: “We have had issues with inconsiderate parking outside the school and if this means there are more people available to do the enforcement then that is great.

“Hopefully, they will be able to look at people causing a danger to children and problems in general.

“And if they can promote considerate parking in general then this is an excellent move for us.”

Fiona Cook, assistant head at St James' Lower Darwen CE Primary said: “We would definitely support tougher parking regulations.

“We have major problems with parking. We’ve talked to the council and Capita and had the police involved to try to get it a bit safer.

“Anything the council could do would be great.”

If the powers are approved, the council would seek to improve road safety by enforcing ‘keep clear’ markings near schools, zig-zag markings on pedestrian crossings, kerb blips for loading bans, dropped crossings, and bus stops.

It would also enforce designated public transport priority areas, such as areas reserved for buses.

Bastwell councillor, and chairman of governors at Brookhouse Primary, Shaukhat Hussain, said cutbacks meant it was difficult sometimes for the police to deal with the issue.

He said: “It’s been a problem in streets around my ward, and I am concerned.

“They’ve had about three or four accidents at Cedars Primary School within a period of four months.

“Luckily, they haven’t been serious, but it’s only a matter of time.

“They may not all be down to inconsiderate parking, but it is a big problem.

“Because of the cutbacks the police face at the minute, they have other priorities, and they may not consider parking to be a high priority.

“They try their best but it’s stretching their resources, and if the council has these powers I think it will help.”

A spokesperson for Lancashire police said: “Any powers which can help alleviate traffic problems are welcomed.”

Motoring groups also welcomed the decision, praising the council for choosing to prioritise enforcement.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Most drivers don’t have a problem with reasonable restrictions. It’s where enforcement and punishment seems out of all proportion to the ‘crime’ that things jar.

“There probably won’t be many people objecting to powers aimed at keeping people safe and keeping traffic moving.”

A council spokesman said that if the government agreed to grant the extra powers, a public consultation and information campaign would take place before any action was taken.

Similar regulations have already been adopted elsewhere in the country, including in London boroughs.

Councillor Maureen Bateson, the council's executive member for regeneration, said: “People have approached me and other councillors time and time again to say one of their biggest concerns is bad and inconsiderate parking, especially near schools.

“We are keen to explore different ways of solving these problems so we are applying to the Department for Transport for some new and additional powers.

“It also brings us in line with other councils. It’s the start of the process and we are keen to get residents involved in these discussions.

“Clearly, though, the issue of bad parking can’t be solved by the council and enforcement measures alone but we all can play a part in tackling it.”

Lancashire county council already has no plans to seek the ANPR authorisation, but wardens are able to ticket illegal parkers.

Comments (27)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:48am Fri 14 Mar 14

DoggydogNo1 says...

About time too!
About time too! DoggydogNo1
  • Score: 48

7:11am Fri 14 Mar 14

peely says...

Good !
Good ! peely
  • Score: 45

8:34am Fri 14 Mar 14

HarryBosch says...

In my day there were certain absolute cardinal sins were parking was concerned - among them were - zig zags on pedestrian crossings and school entrances, yellow lines with bars and anywhere which blocked entrances to driveways, alleyways etc. Now, everyday I see drivers parking in those specific areas without any thought or consideration of the consequences. These irresponsible and inconsiderate drivers only have themselves to blame for the introduction of measures such as this.
In my day there were certain absolute cardinal sins were parking was concerned - among them were - zig zags on pedestrian crossings and school entrances, yellow lines with bars and anywhere which blocked entrances to driveways, alleyways etc. Now, everyday I see drivers parking in those specific areas without any thought or consideration of the consequences. These irresponsible and inconsiderate drivers only have themselves to blame for the introduction of measures such as this. HarryBosch
  • Score: 53

9:36am Fri 14 Mar 14

Biggy12 says...

I disagree,I think it's more about revenue.
As we well know those who make these 'rules' don't give a flying about our safety.ive seen council vans parked on double yellows etc...
With all that's going on in the world,your bothered about parking.......get a grip
I disagree,I think it's more about revenue. As we well know those who make these 'rules' don't give a flying about our safety.ive seen council vans parked on double yellows etc... With all that's going on in the world,your bothered about parking.......get a grip Biggy12
  • Score: -63

9:52am Fri 14 Mar 14

Excluded again says...

Biggy12 wrote:
I disagree,I think it's more about revenue.
As we well know those who make these 'rules' don't give a flying about our safety.ive seen council vans parked on double yellows etc...
With all that's going on in the world,your bothered about parking.......get a grip
If its all about revenue, then you can easily hit back at them. Just don't park illegally outside schools and they won't make a penny piece. Sorted.
[quote][p][bold]Biggy12[/bold] wrote: I disagree,I think it's more about revenue. As we well know those who make these 'rules' don't give a flying about our safety.ive seen council vans parked on double yellows etc... With all that's going on in the world,your bothered about parking.......get a grip[/p][/quote]If its all about revenue, then you can easily hit back at them. Just don't park illegally outside schools and they won't make a penny piece. Sorted. Excluded again
  • Score: 70

11:08am Fri 14 Mar 14

Darren1951 says...

HarryBosch wrote:
In my day there were certain absolute cardinal sins were parking was concerned - among them were - zig zags on pedestrian crossings and school entrances, yellow lines with bars and anywhere which blocked entrances to driveways, alleyways etc. Now, everyday I see drivers parking in those specific areas without any thought or consideration of the consequences. These irresponsible and inconsiderate drivers only have themselves to blame for the introduction of measures such as this.
And, more than that, if you have the temerity to mention to them what they're doing wrong, you risk getting a mouthful of foul abuse, or even serious assault.
[quote][p][bold]HarryBosch[/bold] wrote: In my day there were certain absolute cardinal sins were parking was concerned - among them were - zig zags on pedestrian crossings and school entrances, yellow lines with bars and anywhere which blocked entrances to driveways, alleyways etc. Now, everyday I see drivers parking in those specific areas without any thought or consideration of the consequences. These irresponsible and inconsiderate drivers only have themselves to blame for the introduction of measures such as this.[/p][/quote]And, more than that, if you have the temerity to mention to them what they're doing wrong, you risk getting a mouthful of foul abuse, or even serious assault. Darren1951
  • Score: 32

11:25am Fri 14 Mar 14

mmickk says...

What amazes me is £50 grand no way do they need to spend this much I will guarantee its a brand new car. Yet why? it could have been an ex council vehicle its not going to do any miles sitting there all day could of fitted out a trailer even. Its a good idea except knowing this lot it will have every conceivable extra metallic paint alloy wheels. But they will realize when someone sets it on fire they should have got another to watch the first!!!
What amazes me is £50 grand no way do they need to spend this much I will guarantee its a brand new car. Yet why? it could have been an ex council vehicle its not going to do any miles sitting there all day could of fitted out a trailer even. Its a good idea except knowing this lot it will have every conceivable extra metallic paint alloy wheels. But they will realize when someone sets it on fire they should have got another to watch the first!!! mmickk
  • Score: -19

11:29am Fri 14 Mar 14

bishbut says...

people these days seem to think roads are for parking on not for driving on
people these days seem to think roads are for parking on not for driving on bishbut
  • Score: 12

11:40am Fri 14 Mar 14

foxy lass says...

Great bit of news. Its about time. These parents have no consideration for anyone else. Its about saving their lazy children the effort of having to walk a few extra yards and save them a few minutes in time by parking as close to the gate as possible.They would be the first to complain to the police if one of their little darlings was run over by a driver, cos the driver cant seen the kids, due to blocked crossings and driveways.
Great bit of news. Its about time. These parents have no consideration for anyone else. Its about saving their lazy children the effort of having to walk a few extra yards and save them a few minutes in time by parking as close to the gate as possible.They would be the first to complain to the police if one of their little darlings was run over by a driver, cos the driver cant seen the kids, due to blocked crossings and driveways. foxy lass
  • Score: 32

12:23pm Fri 14 Mar 14

The Real Mr Angry says...

I see this happening every day. Parents too lazy to even pull in letting their kids bail out from a stop outside the school by a parent without any consideration for other road users or dare I say their own kids.

There are often Police standing waiting outside schools with hi-viz jackets on and amazingly everyone goes the extra few yards to find a space then.

Covert means and fines and points is the only way to stop these people. I know us motorists are moaning that we are the soft targets but I always make an effort to park correctly when doing the school run and anyone caught only have themselves to blame. Bring it on say I!
I see this happening every day. Parents too lazy to even pull in letting their kids bail out from a stop outside the school by a parent without any consideration for other road users or dare I say their own kids. There are often Police standing waiting outside schools with hi-viz jackets on and amazingly everyone goes the extra few yards to find a space then. Covert means and fines and points is the only way to stop these people. I know us motorists are moaning that we are the soft targets but I always make an effort to park correctly when doing the school run and anyone caught only have themselves to blame. Bring it on say I! The Real Mr Angry
  • Score: 24

12:29pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Stone Island: says...

When they've finished targeting the schools, maybe they could have a look at the Range Areas of Blackburn, where illegal and dangerous parking seem to be the norm.
When they've finished targeting the schools, maybe they could have a look at the Range Areas of Blackburn, where illegal and dangerous parking seem to be the norm. Stone Island:
  • Score: 34

12:34pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Anal Revenge says...

Its so good!
Its so good! Anal Revenge
  • Score: -1

1:14pm Fri 14 Mar 14

woolywords says...

****, ****, ****...
Hello, anyone inside this idiot box got a brain?
Where does this vehicle park, without committing an offence itself?

@LT. To state that, 'At the moment only the police can use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to identify the owner of vehicles.., is wholly untrue, as many private companies can use the database. (Ask at your local Bailiffs offices to confirm this.)

Moreover, I'll bet that some bean counter has already worked out the cost of this car plus the revenue it can generate, over time. Making it a self-sustaining, profitable enterprise for any Council to use. Sadly, there is no account taken of the Laws of Diminishing returns, where the income falls proportional to the fines imposed. What then?
Will it be deployed around the town, during time that children are in school, generating more revenue, while it is ostensibly, awaiting schools coming out?
To state that it is a road safety tool is a complete fallacy and nobody should be so deluded as to think otherwise. It's purely a Council revenue making machine and nothing else!
There is nothing stopping the Council making a statement of intent, to the effect that, all fines recovered outside of a school, will be gifted to that school, to improve it's safety systems but I won't hold my breath for that one coming along.
Expect my FOI request exactly one year after it's roll out and questions to Councillors about the improvements to safety that it has evinced to them, whilst it was used. Or have you already prepared the answer of, 'it's too early to tell yet'?
****, ****, ****... Hello, anyone inside this idiot box got a brain? Where does this vehicle park, without committing an offence itself? @LT. To state that, 'At the moment only the police can use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to identify the owner of vehicles.., is wholly untrue, as many private companies can use the database. (Ask at your local Bailiffs offices to confirm this.) Moreover, I'll bet that some bean counter has already worked out the cost of this car plus the revenue it can generate, over time. Making it a self-sustaining, profitable enterprise for any Council to use. Sadly, there is no account taken of the Laws of Diminishing returns, where the income falls proportional to the fines imposed. What then? Will it be deployed around the town, during time that children are in school, generating more revenue, while it is ostensibly, awaiting schools coming out? To state that it is a road safety tool is a complete fallacy and nobody should be so deluded as to think otherwise. It's purely a Council revenue making machine and nothing else! There is nothing stopping the Council making a statement of intent, to the effect that, all fines recovered outside of a school, will be gifted to that school, to improve it's safety systems but I won't hold my breath for that one coming along. Expect my FOI request exactly one year after it's roll out and questions to Councillors about the improvements to safety that it has evinced to them, whilst it was used. Or have you already prepared the answer of, 'it's too early to tell yet'? woolywords
  • Score: -15

3:16pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Malthus says...

woolywords wrote:
****, ****, ****...
Hello, anyone inside this idiot box got a brain?
Where does this vehicle park, without committing an offence itself?

@LT. To state that, 'At the moment only the police can use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to identify the owner of vehicles.., is wholly untrue, as many private companies can use the database. (Ask at your local Bailiffs offices to confirm this.)

Moreover, I'll bet that some bean counter has already worked out the cost of this car plus the revenue it can generate, over time. Making it a self-sustaining, profitable enterprise for any Council to use. Sadly, there is no account taken of the Laws of Diminishing returns, where the income falls proportional to the fines imposed. What then?
Will it be deployed around the town, during time that children are in school, generating more revenue, while it is ostensibly, awaiting schools coming out?
To state that it is a road safety tool is a complete fallacy and nobody should be so deluded as to think otherwise. It's purely a Council revenue making machine and nothing else!
There is nothing stopping the Council making a statement of intent, to the effect that, all fines recovered outside of a school, will be gifted to that school, to improve it's safety systems but I won't hold my breath for that one coming along.
Expect my FOI request exactly one year after it's roll out and questions to Councillors about the improvements to safety that it has evinced to them, whilst it was used. Or have you already prepared the answer of, 'it's too early to tell yet'?
As people have stated already, if people abide by the rules there will be no need to deploy such vehicles in the future.
[quote][p][bold]woolywords[/bold] wrote: ****, ****, ****... Hello, anyone inside this idiot box got a brain? Where does this vehicle park, without committing an offence itself? @LT. To state that, 'At the moment only the police can use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to identify the owner of vehicles.., is wholly untrue, as many private companies can use the database. (Ask at your local Bailiffs offices to confirm this.) Moreover, I'll bet that some bean counter has already worked out the cost of this car plus the revenue it can generate, over time. Making it a self-sustaining, profitable enterprise for any Council to use. Sadly, there is no account taken of the Laws of Diminishing returns, where the income falls proportional to the fines imposed. What then? Will it be deployed around the town, during time that children are in school, generating more revenue, while it is ostensibly, awaiting schools coming out? To state that it is a road safety tool is a complete fallacy and nobody should be so deluded as to think otherwise. It's purely a Council revenue making machine and nothing else! There is nothing stopping the Council making a statement of intent, to the effect that, all fines recovered outside of a school, will be gifted to that school, to improve it's safety systems but I won't hold my breath for that one coming along. Expect my FOI request exactly one year after it's roll out and questions to Councillors about the improvements to safety that it has evinced to them, whilst it was used. Or have you already prepared the answer of, 'it's too early to tell yet'?[/p][/quote]As people have stated already, if people abide by the rules there will be no need to deploy such vehicles in the future. Malthus
  • Score: 10

4:20pm Fri 14 Mar 14

DoggydogNo1 says...

Should to the same to the bus drivers who block the road because they cannot be bothered to pull into the bus stop correctly!
Should to the same to the bus drivers who block the road because they cannot be bothered to pull into the bus stop correctly! DoggydogNo1
  • Score: 2

6:10pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Plodder laner says...

There are schemes to lease a car where the operator will take a fee from the fine. Costs the council nowt, they get some money to renew lines etc. no cost to the taxpayer, just a cost to those who make schools less safe by their inconsiderate and sometimes dangerous behaviour. If they don't want to fund it, simple don't behave irresponsibly.
There are schemes to lease a car where the operator will take a fee from the fine. Costs the council nowt, they get some money to renew lines etc. no cost to the taxpayer, just a cost to those who make schools less safe by their inconsiderate and sometimes dangerous behaviour. If they don't want to fund it, simple don't behave irresponsibly. Plodder laner
  • Score: 3

6:14pm Fri 14 Mar 14

CorkyMac says...

DoggydogNo1 wrote:
Should to the same to the bus drivers who block the road because they cannot be bothered to pull into the bus stop correctly!
What a load of nonsense! If a bus doesn't pull Into a stop properly It's because they are restricted to do so and the majority of times It's bad car parking once again.
[quote][p][bold]DoggydogNo1[/bold] wrote: Should to the same to the bus drivers who block the road because they cannot be bothered to pull into the bus stop correctly![/p][/quote]What a load of nonsense! If a bus doesn't pull Into a stop properly It's because they are restricted to do so and the majority of times It's bad car parking once again. CorkyMac
  • Score: 6

7:02pm Fri 14 Mar 14

WilmarSmiley says...

By coincidence I have driven past Witton Park, St. Bedes and Pleckgate High Schools this week, all at home time on various days.
Without a doubt some of the pupils are an absolute disgrace to their respective schools with their parents often illegally, inconsiderately and in a lot of instances, quite dangerously parked. I have seen students wandering around in the road smirking at traffic that they clearly know they are obstructing - I don't believe that children of secondary school age are unaware of how to cross a road safely whilst giving due regard to all users.
I would suggest that the occasional presence of an officer of law who is able to initiate a prosecution to be followed up by an eye watering fine from the magistrates court would more than likely do the trick - word would soon get round and who knows, it may even save a young life.
Clearly, excessive amounts of paint on the roads around our schools have little effect on the people it has been put there to protect.
£50,000 could probably be better spent.
By coincidence I have driven past Witton Park, St. Bedes and Pleckgate High Schools this week, all at home time on various days. Without a doubt some of the pupils are an absolute disgrace to their respective schools with their parents often illegally, inconsiderately and in a lot of instances, quite dangerously parked. I have seen students wandering around in the road smirking at traffic that they clearly know they are obstructing - I don't believe that children of secondary school age are unaware of how to cross a road safely whilst giving due regard to all users. I would suggest that the occasional presence of an officer of law who is able to initiate a prosecution to be followed up by an eye watering fine from the magistrates court would more than likely do the trick - word would soon get round and who knows, it may even save a young life. Clearly, excessive amounts of paint on the roads around our schools have little effect on the people it has been put there to protect. £50,000 could probably be better spent. WilmarSmiley
  • Score: 4

8:06pm Fri 14 Mar 14

jim 2012 says...

Councils in England could be banned from using CCTV cameras and "spy cars" to impose parking fines on motorists under new government proposals





.
Councils in England could be banned from using CCTV cameras and "spy cars" to impose parking fines on motorists under new government proposals . jim 2012
  • Score: -4

8:18pm Fri 14 Mar 14

happycyclist says...

Don't just do the areas around schools. It bugs the hell out of me when selfish motorists park so far on the pavement that someone with a pram has to walk in the road to get past their car.
Don't just do the areas around schools. It bugs the hell out of me when selfish motorists park so far on the pavement that someone with a pram has to walk in the road to get past their car. happycyclist
  • Score: 14

8:58pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Steven Seagull says...

Stone Island: wrote:
When they've finished targeting the schools, maybe they could have a look at the Range Areas of Blackburn, where illegal and dangerous parking seem to be the norm.
Dam right!
[quote][p][bold]Stone Island:[/bold] wrote: When they've finished targeting the schools, maybe they could have a look at the Range Areas of Blackburn, where illegal and dangerous parking seem to be the norm.[/p][/quote]Dam right! Steven Seagull
  • Score: 3

1:33pm Sat 15 Mar 14

Perspexhood says...

Bedes and Witton for definite. Parking is amazingly inconsiderate.
Bedes and Witton for definite. Parking is amazingly inconsiderate. Perspexhood
  • Score: 3

5:29pm Sat 15 Mar 14

onsidecobra says...

Yes the parking around schools at chucking out time is really unthinking, I try to avoid Pleckgate and Buncer Lane at these times because it can take an age just to reach the traffic lights. Why is it that people have to turn up at 2.30pm and sit there in their car waiting for their offspring to grace them with their presence. Double yellow lines and a pair of enthusiastic Traffic Wardens or whatever they call them these days come to mind.
Yes the parking around schools at chucking out time is really unthinking, I try to avoid Pleckgate and Buncer Lane at these times because it can take an age just to reach the traffic lights. Why is it that people have to turn up at 2.30pm and sit there in their car waiting for their offspring to grace them with their presence. Double yellow lines and a pair of enthusiastic Traffic Wardens or whatever they call them these days come to mind. onsidecobra
  • Score: 5

7:15pm Sat 15 Mar 14

drunken donut says...

Stone Island: wrote:
When they've finished targeting the schools, maybe they could have a look at the Range Areas of Blackburn, where illegal and dangerous parking seem to be the norm.
It will never happen, when you have a Mayor who is a convicted benefits cheat, you know where the bias is.
[quote][p][bold]Stone Island:[/bold] wrote: When they've finished targeting the schools, maybe they could have a look at the Range Areas of Blackburn, where illegal and dangerous parking seem to be the norm.[/p][/quote]It will never happen, when you have a Mayor who is a convicted benefits cheat, you know where the bias is. drunken donut
  • Score: 5

12:20pm Sun 16 Mar 14

Biggy12 says...

Let's just slap everyone with a penelty and have done with it,maybe then the council,police,court
s will have enough money to do some proper work....then again,it's easier just stealing people's money.
Let's just slap everyone with a penelty and have done with it,maybe then the council,police,court s will have enough money to do some proper work....then again,it's easier just stealing people's money. Biggy12
  • Score: -3

12:24pm Sun 16 Mar 14

Mumof2angles says...

I think the whole idea is a complete waste of time and money..and I think the money should be spent on catching real criminals committing real crimes!!!! I
I think the whole idea is a complete waste of time and money..and I think the money should be spent on catching real criminals committing real crimes!!!! I Mumof2angles
  • Score: -2

11:39pm Mon 17 Mar 14

CapitaBackHander says...

What a waste of money, if this had been policed properly in the first place then there would be no need to spend any money.
If a head complains the local area bobby is sent and stands there and the police and or council supply a banner. Easy solution is to fine for parking on zig zag, causing obstruction AND PLEASE prosecute for no child seat or worse case no seatbelt! What kind of parent puts a child in car without belt? Hopefully one that never breaks hard.......
What a waste of money, if this had been policed properly in the first place then there would be no need to spend any money. If a head complains the local area bobby is sent and stands there and the police and or council supply a banner. Easy solution is to fine for parking on zig zag, causing obstruction AND PLEASE prosecute for no child seat or worse case no seatbelt! What kind of parent puts a child in car without belt? Hopefully one that never breaks hard....... CapitaBackHander
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree