Safety worries over plans to scrap lollipop crossing patrols

8:00am Thursday 13th March 2014

PLANS to cut lollipop crossing patrols outside schools could cost children’s lives, according to a Brentwood headteacher.

Bosses at Essex County Council are reviewing school crossing patrols in an attempt to save money.

Currently the authority employs about 200 lollipop men and women at a cost of £8,342 each.

But the move has been slammed by school staff in Brentwood who have fears over the safety of pupils and parents.

Iain Gunn, headteacher at St Peter’s primary school in South Weald, said the patrols used by his students on Weald Road and Wigley Bush Lane are highly valued.

Mr Gunn said: “Both the roads we have lollipop men on are dangerous roads and I feel if we do not have someone out there helping pupils cross then it is putting a price on the children’s lives.

“Last term our patrols helped prevent two near misses resulting from drivers going along the road too quickly.

“These could have had tragic consequences and without the lollipop patrols being there I’m sure they would have ended terribly.

“This just seems like silly cuts to be considering and I would much rather the county council cut money from another part of school life rather than one which puts pupils and parents safety at risk.”

Lib Dem county councillor for Brentwood South David Kendall believes the patrols should stay put.

“The lollipop crossings are very, very important and we feel they should be a priority for schools,” he said.

Rodney Bass, the county councillor responsible for highways, said the plans have come about because of financial strains on the authority.

But the Conservative also said he will listen to what schools have to say on the matter.

Mr Bass said: “I want to emphasise that the Council continues to attach great importance to School Crossing Patrols.

“While there may be some rationalisation and review of the service over the next 18 months, it is, I believe, important to understand that there will be an extended and informed conversation without any predetermined outcome.”

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