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School road in Wembley becomes battleground as neighbours fed up with ‘dangerous driving’

Parents have been blocking people’s houses and driving on the pavement outside a North London school with the head teacher saying it’s “incredibly fortunate” a child hasn’t been injured.

Residents of Carlton Avenue East in Wembley are calling for a car ban at pick up and drop off times because the issue of dangerous and inconsiderate driving has got so bad. They say curtains are being turned black by the pollution from idling vehicles and a councillor says “aggressive confrontations” and “scuffles” are breaking out.

At the time of publication, more than 77 people have already signed a petition looking to introduce a ‘school street’ outside Preston Manor High School and Lower School. It would stop unregistered cars from driving along Carlton Avenue East from 8am to 9am and from 2.30pm to 4pm.

Vidya Reddy, who lives on the road, is highly supportive of the petition, which runs until the end of September. Started by Preston councillor, Daniel Kennelly, it claims local roads have “become gridlocked by school traffic”, which has “led to a rise in anti-social behaviour and dangerous driving”.

School road in Wembley becomes battleground as neighbours fed up with 'dangerous driving' Harrow Online
Preston Manor School. Image: Google

The issues have meant Vidya doesn’t go outside during school times to avoid the noise from horns beeping and the occasional argument as cars are jammed up all along the street. She said: “Everybody’s experience is the same, the road is really, really bad.”

Vidya added: “In the mornings and evenings we can’t take the car out, it’s totally blocked. The cars are just lined up along this street. People drive up the pavements, it’s really quite dangerous.

“They park over my driveway as well, especially in the afternoons, I have to come out and tell them to move. […] sometimes they turn up 20 minutes early as well because otherwise they can’t find parking and sit with their engines on.”

The volume of idling cars has also left Vidya “scared to sleep in the front bedroom” due to the pollution. She said: “The curtain at the front is completely black and I don’t leave the window open. But the back curtain is absolutely fine, it’s clean.”

Cllr Kennelly told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “Dangerous driving, people mounting the kerb and anti-social behaviour (ASB) has all increased here since Covid. There are young children walking around […] it’s just wrong to do this, the police have been called numerous times.”

He added: “We need to weed out this dangerous driving, blocking driveways, getting into arguments or scuffles – sometimes very aggressive confrontations – with residents. It shouldn’t be complete chaos on the road for two and a half hours every day. […] We have to take measures before someone gets seriously injured”.

The problems have been ongoing for a number of years. Preston Manor Lower School has previously tried to work alongside residents, Brent Council, Brent Parking and the police to try and come up with solutions to the dangerous driving and parking.

However, an agreement couldn’t be reached about how to move forward so a solution is yet to be found. Preston Manor Lower School’s Head Teacher, Kevin Atkinson, told the LDRS that the issues have existed ever since he joined in 2016 and the school fully supports the petition. He sends out letters to parents every year to encourage them to drive carefully.

Mr Atkinson said: “There have been numerous incidents of poor or dangerous driving which I have witnessed in the past and this year. The worst of which are members of the public pulling onto the pavement and driving down the pavement to get ahead of, or around, the congestion on the street, which puts our children and other pedestrians at significant risk.”

He added: “When cars […] drive down the pavement at these times of the day when there are a lot of children and parents coming to and leaving the school, it creates incredibly dangerous situations. Our children have had to move out of the way of cars who have been driving on the pavement on numerous occasions over the past seven years.

“Despite the above, we have been incredibly fortunate that we have not had any notable incidents which have resulted in a child or adult being injured. However, unless something changes soon, we may not be so lucky in the future.”

‘School streets’ have been used to address similar issues in the ward in areas such as College Road and Preston Park. Teachers, residents and even police were assaulted on Preston Park and the changes helped to clamp down on those kinds of problems, according to Cllr Kennelly.

He claims they have made a “really positive impact” in the areas by “giving the road back to local people”, as well as prioritising blue badge holders and emergency vehicles. Residents have until the end of September to sign the petition.