All eleven school crossing patrols set to end in July, reports James Cracknell
A lollipop warden has warned that Enfield Council’s decision to axe all eleven of the borough’s remaining school crossing patrols “puts children’s lives at risk”.
The move will save taxpayers £68,000 per year and the council says that it has invested in other measures to improve road safety, such as new 20mph speed limits, which mean children will still be safe travelling to school.
But Lesley Robinson, who has been patrolling Church Street in Edmonton in her yellow uniform for the past six years, disagrees. She is being made redundant by the council at the end of school term in July and told the Dispatch: “There are a lot of parents who let their kids walk to school on their own because they know I am here to keep them safe. I was once even hit myself – if they can’t see me with my bright uniform, kids will get hurt. The cars come along here with horrendous speed.”
Asked whether the council’s improvements to road safety in the borough were enough to protect schoolchildren, Lesley said: “No. I have had to grab children back from the road. I wouldn’t recommend kids walk to school on their own without us being here.
“It’s only a matter of time before a child gets run over.”
Lesley and the other ten lollipop wardens in Enfield found out they were losing their jobs in March, when they were called to a meeting by the council. She added: “They’ve kept it very hush-hush. We get paid a pittance so I don’t see why they can’t keep us, they probably spend more on stationary.”
A council spokesperson said: “The council has invested heavily in recent years to improve road safety around schools, with the implementation of 20mph zones and zebra crossings, but a combination of significant spending cuts and an increase in pressure on services means the council has to make difficult decisions on where it spends its budget.
“Only a few schools have a crossing patrol and, with the measures either already in place or planned, children will continue to be able to travel safely to and from these schools in the future.
“Enfield Council and our schools are committed to doing what we can to promote healthy, active ways of getting to and from school, but the ultimate responsibility for ensuring children are safe while travelling is, and must remain, a parental one.”