Hundreds back call for crossing patrols outside Portsmouth school

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HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition to get more crossing patrollers outside a school in Portsmouth.

Earlier this year, two lollipop ladies manned the roads outside the Court Lane Infant and Juniors School in Hilary Avenue, Cosham, but after this Friday, there will be none.

Eileen Peaston and her grand-daughter Bethany Uwawuike (8) at the school crossing patrol point outside Court Lane Infant School'''Picture: Allan Hutchings (133529-359)

Eileen Peaston and her grand-daughter Bethany Uwawuike (8) at the school crossing patrol point outside Court Lane Infant School'''Picture: Allan Hutchings (133529-359)

The council moved one and the other resigned. The pair controlled traffic at the corner of Court Lane and Hilary Avenue and the crossroads where Court Lane meets Old Manor Way and Lonsdale Avenue.

Eileen Peaston is behind the petition, which has over 600 signatures.

But grandmother Eileen, whose eight-year-old granddaughter Bethany Uwawuike goes to Court Lane Juniors, thinks the two junctions are too busy to have no-one manning them.

She said: ‘Outside the schools in Hilary Avenue there’s a problem with the volume of traffic and the number of kids crossing the roads so we do need someone on this crossing because it is so busy.

‘You get the lorries from the bottom of the road that come up here and the bus goes up the opposite end and other traffic cuts through to get to Cosham.’

Now her petition has hundreds of signatures, Eileen plans to hand it to the council. She added: ‘I hope to present the petition to the full council in January and hopefully they will act on it.

‘If not, I’ll have to think of other arrangements.

‘But it’s so important that we get someone there because many of the kids are young and you get childminders and parents with a couple of kids between them. They should have the safety of getting into school.’

In the past three years, the number of crossing patrol officers in Portsmouth has dropped by 18 – from 84 to 66.

Pam Turton, Portsmouth City Council’s assistant head of service for transport and environment, said: ‘Previously we had two school crossing patrollers working at one site by Court Lane Infant School.

‘One was relocated to a site with no patroller and, since then, the other has resigned. We are in the process of recruiting for the vacancy and a suitable replacement will be in place as soon as they are found.’

The council determines locations for crossing patrollers by following the RoadSafety GB National School Crossing Patrol Guidelines.