SCHOOL crossing patrol staff have been moved in Portsmouth as the council struggles to recruit workers to help children cross the road.
As reported in The News, parents returned to Gatcombe Park Primary School at the start of this term to find there was no lollipop lady at the busy junction with Copnor Road and St Barbara Way.
Parents also noticed that the junction with Milton Road, Baffins Road and Hayling Avenue in Baffins is without a lollipop person.
Now, it is understood the reason for the change is due to recruitment issues, with staff being moved to different sites in the city.
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I am very disappointed that the school crossing patrol has been removed from the very busy Copnor Road junction.
‘I campaigned for the post to be created a few years ago.
‘This was and still is a key priority. I have heard officers at the council stating recruitment issues for the reason in the reduction of the school crossing patrol.
‘This is a poor excuse.
‘There are many people in the city who have the time to work the small number of hours required each day during term-time to assist young children with crossing some of the busiest roads in the city.’
Cllr Jones has raised the issue with Ken Ellcome, the head of traffic and transport.
Stephen Challis is a governor at Gatcombe Park.
He said: ‘There isn’t a lot we can do.
‘We have got to cross the road wherever we can.
‘We have got to find alternative routes to school which adds time and at the end of the day, it’s still dangerous because there’s nobody to help the children cross.
Rick Towner, of Milton Road, said: ‘The junction is terrible at the best of times to cross but this is suicide, it really is.
‘We have four young children who are only just gaining the confidence to walk to school some mornings.’