FURIOUS residents are at loggerheads with Southend Council after teachers were given a free pass to park on the street.

Families living near St Bernard’s School, in Westcliff, previously campaigned for a residents’ parking scheme to be introduced after they claimed teachers were “flooding the roads”.

The Milton Controlled Parking Zone was launched 18 months ago meaning residents had to pay £16.50 for a one-car permit to park between 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

Residents say the move was a great success but since Christmas, Southend Council has begun trialling a “educational permit” allowing a number of school staff to park on the street.

Mark Coe, 46, said: “Things had improved for residents for a while until teachers returned to school following the Christmas break this year when more and more of them appeared to be parking along local roads again.

“This caused a lot of confusion between residents as we believed that the CPZ would prevent this.

“We believe this agreement goes against the councils’ own processes and has left many of us disappointed and angry that we are now being forced to pay to park in our own streets. In fact, often many streets away because there isn’t always space now that the teachers are taking up the spaces again.”

In 2022, the school’s headteacher said she had no option but to close the school on a particular day because she claimed the new parking zones are set to stop teachers getting to work. The school later backtracked on the closure threat.

In response to residents’ objections over the parking zone, Kevin Buck, Southend Tory councillor for highways, said: “The Milton controlled parking zone is the council’s most extensive scheme of its kind.

“While it has successfully freed up parking spaces for residents, it has also presented challenges for others in the area. Since the scheme was implemented, there has been a notable under-use of parking on the road within the CPZ, prompting a comprehensive review of its impacts and how we may mitigate some of those.

“St Bernard’s High School has been particularly affected, leading to the roll out of a temporary trial for an ‘educational permit’ system. This trial permits a limited number of school staff to park during school hours. Our goal is to strike a balance between addressing parking needs and minimising disruption to the community, particularly for establishments like St Bernard’s High School.”