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Teachers driven round the bend

'No system of regulation is ever going to satisfy everyone's demands, argues Nick Lester, director of the Parking Committee for London. This fact is fast dawning on the parents of pupils at John Betts primary school in Hammersmith.

They have written to Hammersmith and Fulham council requesting that teachers be granted special permits to park in the

controlled zones the borough has introduced in the streets surrounding the school on Paddenswick Road. Last week, they received a letter from Roger Khanna, assistant director of highways. 'I regret to inform you that there are no special parking permits for any individual or group of employees in this borough, he wrote.

Instead, teachers will have to make do with parking in pay and display bays costing between pounds 4 and pounds 5 a day: a cool pounds 800 a year.

Businesses in the area have been granted annual permits costing pounds 400 each - more than the residents' fee of pounds 50, but about half what the teachers at John Betts will have to find.

Most parents, like Jane Turnbull, whose seven-year-old daughter Holly attends John Betts, wonder whether there is some room for flexibility: 'It's bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy. My concern is that this is going to force teachers who are already under strain with large classes and low salaries to leave.

But Hammersmith does have major parking problems, particularly around the school where many houses have been converted into flats. A council spokeswoman said it was 'regrettable that teachers would lose out, but that residents' needs had to take priority.