A NINE-YEAR-OLD boy is in hospital after he was hit by a taxi on a road which used to have a lollipop lady.
Parents said they believed the accident yesterday morning could have been avoided if a school crossing patrol was still in operation at the spot in Chatsworth Avenue, Cosham, Portsmouth.
The youngster, who goes to Highbury Primary School, suffered a broken nose and left arm after he was hit by an Aquacars taxi.
He had been walking to school when the accident happened at 8.39am.
There is a vacant position for a lollipop patrol at the junction of Chatsworth Avenue and Dovercourt Road – yards from where the boy was hit.
There has not been a crossing patrol at the junction since the previous lollipop lady left in June this year.
The area’s councillor, April Windebank, who lives nearby and was one of the first people on the scene after it happened, said: ‘The junction is really busy with people in cars stopping to go into the shop and lots of delivery trucks bringing in stock.
‘And there’s a bus stop there where the contracted school buses pass as well as public ones.
‘With all that going on and lots of schoolchildren trying to cross without a lollipop person, it was an accident waiting to happen.’
Police closed the road until 11am. They believe the boy stepped out into the road, but are continuing to investigate.
The driver, a 26-year-old man, was uninjured but shaken. No arrests have been made.
Mother of two Katie Hackney, 33, of Chatsworth Avenue, said: ‘It’s a fast and dangerous road. People don’t stick to the 20 mph speed limit. We really need another lollipop person.
‘I feel like I need to take my children to school myself just to make sure they get there OK, since we don’t have anyone to help them over the road any more.’
The council said there was a lack of suitable applicants for the job since it had become available.
Michelle Love, the council’s road safety team manager, said: ‘We had a lollipop lady working at the junction until June this year, when she resigned. Three days later we interviewed two applicants for the post, but unfortunately they weren’t suitable.
‘We’ve been actively recruiting since then, but have only had one more application, which came in last week. An interview is being arranged.
‘Until we know more about this accident and where it happened, we don’t know whether a lollipop patrol could have made a difference.
‘Our thoughts are with the boy and his family and we hope he makes a quick recovery.’
Meanwhile the boy’s classmates have made get well soon cards to wish him a speedy recovery.
His teacher, Zoe Killick, will deliver them to him at Queen Alexandra Hospital in a few days.
Mrs Killick, who is also the school’s headteacher, said: ‘Quite a few of the children had seen the accident.
‘Some of them had been rushed past it by their parents who didn’t want them to get upset, so they all wanted to talk about it.
‘They were very concerned about him, but they are relieved now that they know that he is going to be alright.’
Anyone with information should contact Sergeant Shaun Hopkins at Fratton police station on 101 or 0845 045 4545 or call the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Parents’ concerns abouts safety at scene of accident
PARENTS have called for a new lollipop lady at the spot where the nine-year-old boy was knocked down.
The accident took place yesterday at 8.39am as youngsters were crossing Chatsworth Avenue, in Cosham, to make their way to Highbury Primary School.
Paula Hutton, 43, of Chatsworth Avenue, said she had two daughters who attended the school and was worried there was no one watching the crossing.
‘There used to be a lollipop lady but when she went she was never replaced,’ she said.
‘I think after what happened they need to get a new one.
‘There were rumours she had been given grief by some motorists and that’s why she quit – which is awful.’
Another lollipop lady – who did not wish to be named – told The News arguments with drivers are something they just have to put up with.
‘People have no respect,’ she said. ‘They are abusive and they do drive too fast but it is part of the job.’
Emma Holgate, 35, of Donaldson Road, in Cosham, said there was also a problem with traffic next to the school, with many people ignoring the parking restrictions.
She said: ‘They need traffic wardens down the bottom where the zig zags are. There hasn’t been a lollipop lady for a while but now the end of the road is getting just as bad.’
Jeff Goodred, 35, of Lowestoft Road, Wymering, said families have no choice but to cross Chatsworth Avenue to get to school.
He said: ‘It is so busy down here – it might not be a bad idea if they bring a lollipop lady back.
‘People have to park further up the road and walk back down so the crossing will always be busy.’