School crosses council after lollipop job axe

The hustings at Portsmouth College - from left:  David Carpenter (college governor), Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dems), Ian McCulloch (Green), Steve Fitzgerald (college teacher and chair), Stephen Morgan (Labour), Kevan Chippindall-Higgin (Ukip) and Penny Mordaunt (Cons)   Picture: Heather Eggelton

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A COUNCIL has decided to look again at its decision to cut a lollipop patrol at a school.

Parents and staff at Alverstoke Junior School called for bosses at Hampshire to explain the move.

The county council surveyed The Avenue, in Alverstoke, Gosport, one of two crossings at the school, after a long-serving lollipop man left due to ill health.

But headteacher John Bailey said as the survey was done in the morning, the council has not seen how busy the road is later.

He said: ‘We have some pupils who come in at 8.45am, we have some in at 8.30am for morning clubs, and we have the final start at 8.55am.

‘We have a staggered start to the day deliberately so that we can get children in and working by 9am, rather than crowded in the coat area.

‘At the end of the day at 3.15pm, they all come out at the same time so you have a large group of children who are trying to cross The Avenue, while you have traffic and parents parking.

‘That’s the hazardous bit and it’s not taken into consideration.’

The school has 289 pupils, with 50 per cent using The Avenue, with others using the Green Lane crossing, which has a patrol.

The survey measured the number of children crossing the road and the number of vehicles on it, along with judging visibility and the road’s accident record.

These were compared against criteria set by Road Safety GB.

Steve Bone, 43, of Gomer Lane in Gosport, is the dad of Year 6 pupil Adam, 10.

He said his concern is that without the lollipop person, drivers may be tempted to go more quickly along the road.

He said: ‘The worry will be that if there’s not going to be one there at all, then there will be an accident.

‘A crossing patrol person would have been there for a reason over the years.’

The council’s transport boss Cllr Seán Woodward, said: ‘The crossing fell some distance below the level required to justify a patrol. In light of the comments about the afternoon traffic, we will review the position and will conduct another survey in the afternoon.’

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