PARENTS at a borough school are being urged to ‘park and stride’ in a bid to cut down on congestion.

In conjunction with the Aldi store in London Road, Grays, which has offered free use of its car park to parents, Stifford Primary School launched its new scheme on Monday when head Mark Jones and ward councillor Carl Morris joined several parents on the short walk to school.

Parents can collect stickers from the school which allow them to park for up to an hour in the mornings and afternoon at the store – and they can then walk their children to the nearby school via London Road and Meesons Lane, alleviating parking pressure outside the school gates.

Mr Jones explained the thinking behind the scheme, saying: “To try and reduce the amount of parking in Parker Road. We have a large number of cars parked irresponsibly round the turning circles.

“The more cars we can reduce from this area will mean it is safer for the children to cross the road. We are grateful to Aldi for their support.

Parents can now park there in the morning and in the afternoon without any fear of fines or anything like that.”

Councillor Morris added: “I’m very encouraged by the number of parents who wanted to take part in this park and stride. It’s all about healthy schools and trying to get the traffic congestion in Parker Road resolved as far as we can around the school opening hours.”

One of the parents who joined the first walk was Luan Selby, 33, of Astley, Grays. She accompanied her six-year-old daughter Lucy – even though she still had reservations about road safety on London Road itself.

“I want to support this scheme, it’s a good idea,” she said, "but we do have to look at some of the problems in London Road which itself is very dangerous.

“I don’t think a week goes by when there isn’t a near miss and we parents would like to see some improvements, particularly on the zebra crossing which doesn’t really work.

“Sometimes you get three or four cars driving through when they should stop to let people cross. We need either the crossing turning into a raised area so it’s more prominent or lights installed on it to stop the crossing.

“There are issues with visibility from the pavements too, it can be difficult to see where cars are coming from round the corners of Wharf Road, Meesons Lane and Parker Road.

There are too many cars here, it’s very busy and very dangerous for the children. It’s amazing really that we haven’t had a serious accident yet.”