Teachers unhappy about removal of their lollipop man

There's concern about the removal of a lollipop man
There's concern about the removal of a lollipop man

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TEACHERS say they plan to campaign against the decision to remove a lollipop man from a busy road crossing.

Portsmouth City Council decided to move one from a pelican crossing in London Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth, to a road outside Stamshaw Junior School which it thinks is more hazardous.

While Department for Transport guidelines also say you don’t necessarily need someone helping where there’s a pelican crossing, people are unhappy someone couldn’t have been hired from elsewhere.

The council argues there’s a shortage in the number of people coming forward and wanting the job. Jane Duff, a pre-school assistant at The Parade Community Pre-School, successfully petitioned for a school crossing patroller in December 2010.

She said: ‘I ran the original petition because the cars just weren’t stopping. We want the lollipop man because there are a lot of young kids and they need a point of reference.

‘We are planning to run another campaign.’

Paul Walton, associate headteacher of Northern Parade Junior School, said: ‘The majority of children live locally and walk to school on their own or with siblings. The problem with just having the pelican crossing is this relies on people using it safely. Some children are impulsive and want to cross a road in the quickest way possible.

‘I’m disappointed because it’s putting children’s safety as risk.’

Councillor Alistair Thompson said: ‘This decision has been made in secret. A lot of kids use this crossing and it can be very dangerous.

‘This was done without community engagement which is utterly disgraceful. When it was a zebra crossing several years ago there were a series of near misses and a woman nearly died.’

It was decided at the council’s last full meeting that the vacancy should be filled, though no time frame was given.

Pam Turton, the council’s assistant head of service for transport and environment, said: ‘Safety of children is our priority and we are seeking to recruit new patrollers as soon as possible, but unfortunately this recruitment does take some time.’