Earlier this year, the Tories made a budget decision to withdraw all funding for the school crossing patrols (“lollipop”) to make an annual saving of £233,000. The decision is due to come into effect next April. One alternative the Tories are proposing is to introduce zebra crossings near schools, where they deem it necessary.
Kathy Bance represented Penge & Cator and Labour at this week’s Environment Committee. She again strongly opposed the funding withdrawal. We believe that we all have a duty of care to the young children in our wards. The Conservative councillors repeated their view that the responsibility for children crossing the road to school is with the parents, not councillors.
An audit had been carried out of all 48 sites across the borough to determine the number of unaccompanied pupils using the crossing patrol. School Crossing Patrols were introduced where that number reached 15. Many schools, including Royston and Alexandra Infants, do not now meet these criteria. Local results showed:
Alexandra Junior Cator Road – 42
Royston High Street Penge – 9
Alexandra Infants Kent House Road – 8
We do not believe that traffic calming and speed limits are adequate at those sites as they are on main roads. The council’s traffic officers advised that they had not yet been in contact with those schools but will do so in the near future. We have already been told that both Cator Road and Kent House Road for instance is not suitable for a zebra crossing. This solution also precludes action for St John’s School where traffic has increased since the council decided to open the Maple Road gates. Malcolm school has never had a crossing patrol.
The cost of installing a Zebra crossing is £20,000.