Campaigners launch scathing attack on school crossing patrol changes
Campaigners have launched a scathing attack on changes to school crossing patrol services after it emerged junctions used by hundreds of children will not be covered.
Mobile phone provider Talk Talk announced a groundbreaking deal to sponsor a team of lollipop men and women last week, but concerned parents believe this will only cover the cost of four employees on 11 crossings.
Wandsworth Council previously provided cover for 44 crossings across the borough.
The deal with Talk Talk is expected to be for £12,000, a fraction of the £198,000 savings the council is making by cutting the service.
Lollipop man Brian Smith, 59, who is based in Garratt Lane, Tooting, works on one of the sites earmarked to be cut and will lose his job should the proposal be voted through.
He said: “People believe all of the sites are being saved but they are not. As chance would have it I was nearly knocked down myself this morning. If I was not there I don’t think the kids would have a chance.
“It is not only children we help, there are the old and infirm.”
Save Our Lollipops, an action group made up of parents, patrollers and campaigners have criticised the plans.
Group spokesman Nachelle Withers said: “It leaves children whose crossings aren’t included at risk, and there is not even any provision for the sponsored patrols after the deal expires.”
The group state School Crossing Patrollers (SCP) will be employed at a further 14 sites, paid for by individual schools, while the council have the total number of crossings to be manned at 34.
A spokesman from the council said: “The sponsorship deal we have discussed with Talk Talk would help pay for 11 schools to have lollipop patrollers.
“This would bring the total number of schools covered by patrollers to 34.
“Councillors will be asked to endorse the locations chosen as part of this sponsorship deal when they discuss these proposals at their meeting in January.
“The council has an excellent record of ensuring the safety of children on our roads and will continue to invest in road safety improvements in the coming years.”
Wandsworth Council said it was unable to confirm any details of the proposals until a vote is made at the strategic planning and transportation overview and scrutiny committee, on
January 21 next year.
Talk Talk stated it is commited to working in the borough for at least 18 months.