Councillors agree to cut number of lollipop patrols in Norfolk

Lollipop men and women in Norfolk are being cut. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Lollipop men and women in Norfolk are being cut. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The number of lollipop men and women in Norfolk is set to be slashed after councillors voted to cut crossing patrols that do not meet national thresholds.

Norfolk County Council voted in 2014 to cut the service's funding by £150,000 a year for two years, and yesterday's Children's Services Committee debated how to run the service within this reduced budget.

There are currently 97 road crossing patrols in Norfolk, of which an estimated 40 no longer meet criteria set out in national guidance.

These include factors such as the number of children crossing, the number and type of vehicles passing through the site, and what safety measures, such as speed bumps or zebra crossings, are in place.

Councillors were presented with five options, ranging from ending the service completely, to increasing its budget by an estimated £140,000 to maintain it at its current level.

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Michael Rosen, executive director of Children's Services, said the council did not have a legal obligation to provide lollipop patrols, but added: 'I can imagine it's a matter of great concern to parents, schools and members'.

He recommended keeping patrols that meet the criteria, and ceasing those that, after a review, do not, requiring an estimated £40,000 increase in the service's budget.

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Green councillor Richard Bearman spoke against cutting any current patrols, and suggested that if some had to be stopped, schools should be asked to pay for lollipop patrols if they thought they needed them.

However, council officer Elly Starling said they were not allowed to do this.

Councillor Emma Corlett, vice-chairman of the committee, backed Mr Rosen's suggestion, and urged councillors to make their decision based on evidence rather than emotion.

The committee agreed to maintain only patrols that meet the threshold.

Speaking after the meeting, Green councillor Richard Bearman said: 'I think the problem with the decision is the risk associated with the 40 sites. Even if you put in other infrastructure at schools, the safety of children is helped by having an individual to respond to specific circumstances.'

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