CHILDREN’S lives could be put in danger if lollipop men and women are removed from patrols around the area, it has been claimed.
Some busy roads could be left without the traditional crossing assistance at school times under a policy drawn up by Staffordshire County Council – a move which was described by one councillor in the area as ‘almost criminal negligence’.
The familiar patrol has already been taken away at the primary school on Burton’s Shobnall Road, as it was deemed to be unnecessary on the heavily-used route – despite the fact that several large developments have recently been approved in the vicinity. Fears have now been raised that the same fate could befall Rolleston Road, in Stretton, which has been cited as an access point for a 500-home development on land off Tutbury Road.
At the latest meeting of Stretton Parish Council, Councillor Malcolm Goode said: “I have to express a personal opinion here, and say that is almost criminal negligence.
“I think without those two lollipop ladies on Rolleston Road, those children are in acute danger. Not if, or maybe, they will be in danger.”
If the development gets the go-ahead, the staggered crossroads at Bitham Lane and Harehedge Lane will be replaced with two mini-roundabouts. Another councillor said she ‘did not see how it was going to work’.
Councillor Rob Clarke, who represents part of Stretton for the county council made the revelation at the meeting.
He said: “My understanding is that unless the crossing patrol meets the criteria they will not replace them.”
A spokesman for the authority said the patrol had been removed in Shobnall as there was a pedestrian crossing there.
‘Changing circumstances’ on roads will influence the decision whether or not to retain a school crossing patrol, he added.
Routes which have traditionally been home to a lollipop man could see them removed if the authority decides the site no longer meets the ‘required criteria’.
Councillor Simon Tagg, cabinet support member for transport and connected county, said: “We also look at any other road safety measures which could be employed to ensure the safety of pedestrians and always follow national guidelines.
“Our School Crossing Patrols are one of a number of initiatives we use to help keep our children safe on the journey to and from school. We have one of the highest numbers of walking buses in the country and our ‘20 is Plenty’ campaign which encourages motorists to slow down outside schools has benefited around 150 schools.”