Fight to save Axminster school crossing patrol

PUBLISHED: 08:20 10 December 2015 | UPDATED: 16:25 17 December 2015

Crossing patrol man David Swift who faces losing his job to protect chidlren at Axminster. Picture CHRIS CARSON

Crossing patrol man David Swift who faces losing his job to protect chidlren at Axminster. Picture CHRIS CARSON

Archant

More than 400 sign petition to keep county-funded ‘lollipop man’ at Mary’s RC Primary

More than 400 people have signed a petition urging council chiefs not to withdraw funding for a crossing patrol outside an Axminster school.

Parents at St Mary’s RC Primary School, in busy Lyme Road, say proposals to do away with officially paid lollipop men and women will put children’s lives at risk.

Devon County Council (DCC) has launched a consultation reviewing how school crossing patrols are funded and provided.

It is asking schools for their views on paying for their own crossing patrols, as it explores ways to maintain the service while looking to save £250,000 from the service’s budget in the coming financial year.

Highway management spokesman Cllr Stuart Hughes said: “We are looking to strike a balance between achieving the required savings while ensuring that a crossing patrol service remains in place for the benefit of schools wishing to have a patrol.

“However, the difficulty we’re facing is further cuts being imposed upon us by central Government and services which are not statutory are those coming under the closest scrutiny.”

Crossing patrols are not a statutory service, and DCC says if the provision was to change, schools currently with a patrol would be under no obligation to continue using them.

David Swift, 61, has been the crossing patrol man outside St Mary’s in Axminster for the past five years and says it is an important job on what he says is one of the busiest roads in the town.

Claire Studley, a parent of two children at St Mary’s, said: I think it is absolutely ridiculous. You can see how busy it is. You take your life in your hands. The council are endangering the lives of the children.”

Michael and Emma Coddington have three children at the school. Mr Coddington told the Herald: “If we lose Dave, I think it’s dreadful. How long will it be before a child is knocked over and killed? What cost do you put on a young child’s life?”

The consultation closes on Friday, January 8. For more information, go to https://new.devon.gov.uk/crossingpatrol


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