AN EAST Lothian Council van was parked illegally at the entrance to Prestonpans Infant School just days after fears had been raised by parents and residents about children’s safety.

The Courier reported claims that tensions among parents and residents near the school had reached boiling point due to irresponsible parking.

Last month Prestonpans Community Council heard there had been a number of concerning incidents since pupils and staff returned following the summer break. It was claimed the situation had become so bad there were reports of people being assaulted and spat on.

Calls were made for East Lothian Council to fund more traffic wardens, as it was claimed the current team was too small to deal with the problem.

At the group’s meeting last week, community councillor Andrew Stevenson, who raised the concerns of residents and parents over the parking, produced a photograph of the council van clearly parked on the pavement outside the entrance to the school.

He said: “After what we discussed at the last meeting I could not believe what I was seeing. It is just appalling.”

The council’s own policy on parking states it is illegal to park on pavements. It says: “The council is responsible for keeping our roads and footways safe to use. Footways are constructed and provided for pedestrian use, not vehicles such as cars and motor bikes.

“Parking on footways (or grass verges): is potentially dangerous to pedestrians, causes damage, is illegal. Illegally-parked vehicles cost the council thousands of pounds a year in terms of damage to paving slabs and grass verges. They cause serious or potentially dangerous problems for people, and particularly those who are older or have a visual or physical disability.

“If you park a vehicle on a footway, you are causing an obstruction to pedestrians. If the obstruction you cause is too great to allow pedestrians to use the pavement, you may force them to walk onto the road and into oncoming traffic, thus putting them in danger. Similarly, if your vehicle causes damage to pavement slabs, this can cause trip hazards for pedestrians.”

A council spokesperson: “We have passed this to the appropriate service, who have advised that the driver was unable to park in neighbouring streets as usual due to work being carried out but accepts that it was totally inappropriate for him to have parked there. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”