14 December 2010

Communities are being called on to help provide local school crossing patrols with government funding cuts causing the proposed scrapping of the countywide service.

As part of the council’s need to save £136m in the next four years the draft budget announced today includes proposals to stop using taxpayers money to pay for school crossing patrols, saving the authority £201,000.

The council now wants to meet with communities, parents and schools to discuss how they could help to provide these services instead.

Cllr Heather Smith, cabinet member for highways, minerals and waste, said: “We have clear proposals here to stop council taxpayers money paying for centrally controlled and managed lollipop men and women.

“Of course I know that in the first instance there will be a lot of people very worried about such proposals. However we do not see that this needs to be the end of these services.

“If communities, local neighbourhoods or schools want to maintain a lollipop patrol in their areas then maybe there’s a way they could take over the running of the service.

“We know how unsettling change can be and these proposals could see a huge shift in the responsibilities but by giving schools and parents these opportunities we are helping communities help themselves and put in place the right services to suit their needs.”

Cllr Smith said: “For so long it has been a given that services such as this should be paid for by the local council even though there is no legal duty to do so. But with the huge cuts in government funding we are facing this can simply no longer happen.

“Rather we want school communities to take over the responsibility of getting pupils to and from schools. This is about helping those communities help themselves.”