Parents not happy as school crossing patrol in Hilsea axed

CONCERNED From left, Verity Challis, Lucy Risebrough, Theo Challis, six, Graham Slaymaker, Amy Slaymaker, four, Claire Slaymaker, Harrison Risebrough, four, Keith Risebrough, Jack Challis, two, and Stephen Challis.   Picture: Allan Hutchings (142632-791)
CONCERNED From left, Verity Challis, Lucy Risebrough, Theo Challis, six, Graham Slaymaker, Amy Slaymaker, four, Claire Slaymaker, Harrison Risebrough, four, Keith Risebrough, Jack Challis, two, and Stephen Challis. Picture: Allan Hutchings (142632-791)
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CONCERNS have been raised over the axing of a school crossing patrol on a busy city road.

Portsmouth City Council has removed a lollipop lady from the junction of St Barbara Way and Copnor Road in Hilsea.

A crossing patrol used to assist children from Gatcombe Park Primary School and the City of Portsmouth Boys’ School, both of which are nearby.

Stephen Challis is a governor at Gatcombe Park.

He said: ‘We said goodbye to the lollipop lady in July and said “see you next term”.

‘We went to the crossing on Wednesday morning and there was no-one there.

‘It’s about the safety of the children. It’s come to a point where you stand at the side of the road for so long, it’s ridiculous. It’s so dangerous getting across.’

Lucy Risebrough, 30, lives in Merlin Drive. Her four-year-old son Harrison has just started at Gatcombe Park.

She said: ‘It’s a busy road with three lanes. It takes a long time to cross the road. No-one wants to stop for you.

‘My main concern is safety but we’re probably going to be late for school at this rate because trying to cross the road without somebody stopping for us is an absolute nightmare – it’s dangerous.’

Claire Slaymaker, 39, also from Merlin Drive, has a four-year-old daughter, Amy, who started school last week.

She said: ‘Without a lollipop lady it makes it difficult to get across the road.

‘It’s dangerous with three lanes of traffic, especially at that time of the morning and the afternoon when it’s really busy.’ Despite The News contacting the council, no-one responded to explain why the crossing patrol has been removed.

But councillor Neill Young, cabinet member for children and education, said: ‘We take school crossing patrols extremely seriously. It’s an important role in keeping our children safe on the roads.

‘We are concerned about this situation and we will be looking into it to see what has happened and to see if it’s possible to reinstate this school crossing patrol.’

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has written to the council to express her concerns.