Lollipop cuts listed as a budget option

Published 31 Jan 2013 17:00

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The council is under fire for suggesting that the lollipop service could be reduced to save money.

Residents, staff and councillors say the move could put children’s lives at risk if it goes ahead.

The crossing patrol reduction appeared as one of West Dunbartonshire Council’s proposals to cut 2.69 million from next year’s budget.

Council bosses are looking into the possibility of removing the service at pedestrian crossings and at lunchtimes in the hope of saving approximately 145,000 per year.

One irate lollipop attendant, who asked not to be named, told the Post: “While I was helping get the children across the road, I saw a man with a clicker, counting the number of children crossing the road.

“He approached me and told me he was checking how many kids were crossing each time. I wasn’t to happy about it but then I heard it is happening all across West Dunbartonshire.

“It is there on the council’s website in black and white that they could potentially get rid of some of us. It’s a disgrace.”

Dad of two David Strachan said: “This is a joke. They help to make sure my kids get to school OK.

“We all know people who go through red lights at busy junctions, so the patrols at these areas are needed. Maybe some of the council should look a bit closer to home and their own salaries.”

Councillors have also been shocked by the move and have slammed the Labour administration for potentially putting lives at risk.

SNP councillor Jim Finn said: “I think this idea is completely wrong. We are talking about messing about with children’s safety. This is not acceptable.

“They provide an excellent service and all it would take would be for one child to be involved in an accident and there would, rightly, be an uproar.

“It doesn’t matter if one child or 100 children use it, it’s something that keeps youngsters safe.”

Councillor Jim Bollan said: “What price can we put on a child’s head? This is an outrage.

“Safety of children should be a number one priority, never mind even being an option.”

However, the council has defended the move and claims there is no need for the service at certain times of the day.

The spokeswoman said: “This council remains very supportive of school crossers and the good work they do, and has no plans to remove the service.

“The first budget option being considered is for school crossers to be removed from primary schools at lunchtime. This follows a recent survey that showed there was little or no use of the service at this time.

“The second option is to remove school crossers from permanent pedestrian crossings because national guidance states that having these duplicating measures can be confusing for pupils and drivers.

“It should be recognised that absolutely no decisions have been taken and the current budget consultation is intended to offer residents the opportunity to have their say on these and a range of other savings options ahead of the 2013/14 budget meeting on February 6.”

This article appeared in Clydebank Post 30 Jan 13

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