School safety fears over proposals to axe Uttlesford lollipop man
15:17 27 March 2014
More than 100 people have signed a petition against the axing of a lollipop man at an Uttlesford school.
Elsenham Primary School could instead be asked to fund its own pedestrian crossing patrols under new proposals put forward by Essex County Council (ECC).
The cost cutting measures could see more than 50 lollipop men and women could lose their jobs.
Leader of Uttlesford’s Liberal Democrat group, Cllr Elizabeth Parr, has hit out at Conservative-run ECC, which is reviewing its patrols because of “budget pressures”.
She said: “One of my biggest concerns it that the crossing is where a lot of construction traffic comes into the village [for the developments currently taking place]. It is dangerous – there needs to be a lollipop man there.
“This is the only school crossing patrol the county council is getting rid of across Uttlesford. They seem to think because there is a zebra crossing that is enough.”
Cllr Parr, who represents Elsenham and Henham at district council level, and resident Rory Gleeson have started a petition to save the crossing patrol. It had been signed by more than 100 people within 48 hours of its launch.
Mr Gleeson said: “I believe school crossing patrols are vital for ensuring children get to school safely. With the amount of building work that is going on around the school – and due to happen within the village – the school crossing patrol is absolutely vital.”
The council has estimated the cost of providing each crossing to be about £5,860. There will be the option for schools to shoulder the responsibility instead.
Governors at Elsenham were due to discuss a plan of action last night (Wednesday).
Headteacher Linda Reid said: “We’re extremely concerned about this proposal and will be discussing how best to respond.”
If the proposals go through, the crossing patrols will lose council funding from September. It would mean the county council, which has said it needs to make £235m in cuts by 2016-17, would save about £320,000 each year.
Cabinet member Rodney Bass said: “Due to the current economic climate and the pressure on local authority budgets we are reviewing the delivery of many aspects of public service delivery.
“In relation to any changes to the school crossing patrol, no formal decisions have been made.”
The petition can be signed online at signme.org.uk/937.
Cllr Parr also urged Elsenham residents to take part in the ECC consultation at essexinsight.org.uk.
The consultation will end on April 24.