Outraged Wrotham School pupils banned from Potters Mede car park
OUTRAGED students have been banned from using a car park unless their school stumps up thousands towards its upkeep.
Borough Green Parish Council has threatened to take drastic action and install electric gates at Potters Mede car park in a bid to keep youngsters out.
It has vowed to only let them back in again once Wrotham School has forked out £25,000 to repair the surface.
At a meeting on Monday, councillors revealed they had demanded the school pay half the £50,000 maintenance cost.
The row has angered sixth formers, who say they are now risking life and limb by being forced to park in busy Borough Green Road.
Taylor Fry, 18, said: "It's really dangerous. We have to park along the road or on the verge outside Grange Park School next door.
"Pulling in and out is a nightmare and getting out of the car we risk being mown down.
"We try to park in Grange Park but they have threatened to clamp us.
"Our school say it's our responsibility to sort transport out, which I suppose it is."
His friend Jordan Willson, 17, added: "We used to park in Wrotham but loads of our cars got keyed.
"There are only a few of us who drive – about ten – so it wouldn't make that much difference to let us park in Potters Mede. It's not like we have ever filled it up."
Phillip Checksfield, 18, said: "It's dangerous getting out of the car and slowing down to pull in.
"The school say they are trying to find a solution to the problem.
"By the time they do we will have left anyway, so we just have to deal with it."
Dan Wilson, 17, added: "We used to park in Tolsey Mead but residents complained.
"The town centre is a long way away, and in Wrotham our cars get vandalised."
The car park has been closed while the pavilion and football grounds are reconstructed.
Parish council chairman Mike Taylor said: "There have been big problems with parking since the car park closed, with parents and pupils parking on the pavements.
"It would be fair if the school paid half the cost of having it resurfaced.
"Otherwise we could have electric timed gates fitted to keep pupils out at the times they would want to park."
Cllr Steve Perry added: "They stuck their lovely new food technology pod where they should have space for parking, so they can't really expect to use Potters Mede."
Cllr Tim Shaw said: "The school's whole ethos is about getting pupils safely to school so they should be concerned where they park."
But money is tight and it is unlikely the school will be able to find the cash it is being asked for.
Head teacher Matthew Wright said: "We have had some discussions with the parish council about parking arrangements.
"What they are suggesting is a lot of money – we can't afford that.
"But we are more than happy to talk with the council about other options."