I am writing to you to ask for your help in promoting our campaign. I am a teacher at the Winns Primary School in Waltham Forest, East London. At the beginning of term we discovered that the Borough was introducing a CPZ in the area surrounding our school. At present, we have a large number of staff who have to drive to work, as they live in Essex, Herts or other outlying Boroughs of London, where public transport links are not as clear cut and accessible as those in and out of the City. Other staff have to drop their own children off before coming to work, and so public transport would be an impossibility for many of us to ensure we arrive on time every day, and leave home at reasonable times. It is often not possible, especially for support staff on low wages, to afford the cost of living within the greater London area. Making the problem worse, is the fact that Waltham Forest does not receive Inner London Funding for its schools and school staff – most other surrounding Boroughs (Hackney, Haringey, Newham, even Barking and Dagenham) all do. We are already at a huge disadvantage.
Unfortunately, the Borough have been typically stubborn over this matter. They are insisting that we should be treated as a business, and so for us to receive permits we would be charged a business rate of up to £590 for every subsequent permit after the first two. We are unique in the Borough in that we don’t have any kind of on-site car park, which other schools do, owing mainly to the fact that we expanded the school at the Borough’s request a few years ago. Also, there is another school in the Borough (Barclay) who are being granted £170 permits to park in the CPZ around them, as they are an Academy (we are still a normal Community school). It seems to me that when two institutions providing the same service, in the same Borough, with the same taxpayer’s money, are being treated so differently, it is grossly unfair.
I have co-ordinated a petition which has gathered over 300 signatories in just over 5 days, from staff, parents, residents and others. I feel that this is an issue which many of the followers of your blog may be interested in, and so if you would be able to post something which would raise awareness of our cause I would be hugely grateful. The story has already gained a lot of interest on the local Waltham Forest Guardian page, reaching the top spot on their “most read” pages last Thursday. http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/wfnews/13812373.Staff__forced__to_pay_hundreds_to_park_near_school/
I feel it is important to point out that we are not asking for free parking (some have labelled us as thinking we are special, because of this misunderstanding!), but more that we are brought in line with others in the Borough, and that we are treated as the public servants that we are, rather than a business.
If you want to view the petition, you can find it here: https://goo.gl/KQ4wmw
Teachers from another local school get permits for £170 a year. This would seem a fair amount to pay - it does not appear logical that teachers in different schools should be treated differently.
[Update] It appears the Borough may agree and a Cabinet Minister has now stated a new charge for school staff will be introduced into the permit system at around £200. This has not yet been confirmed in writing and no information on how this would work in practice has been provided yet.
The Parking Prankster