Public meeting at Astley Primary School over moves to axe Melton Constable school crossing patrol

The crossing patrol close to Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt

The crossing patrol close to Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Astley Primary School, at Briston, is one of 40 which could lose their lollipopper in March.

Norfolk County Council says the move could save £150,000 a year, after research found they did not meet a national threshold set down by safety experts.

A public meeting is being held at the school on Monday (6.30pm) to discuss the next move.

Mary Hayes, secretary of the Melton Constable Community Association, said: 'There is considerable strength of feeling about this matter in Melton Constable where parents are very concerned about the safety of their children if the crossing patrol is stopped.

'The council has apparently failed to take into account the planned expansion of the school, the considerable increase in traffic, particularly heavy goods vehicles and the fact that the crossing is located at a point where Melton Constable children from the northern side of the village must cross if they are to avoid walking in the road as there is no pavement on the northern side.

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'This matter has the full support of the school, both Melton Constable and Briston parish councils, Melton Constable Community Association and the Friends of Astley School.'

Criteria used by Norfolk County Council to decide which patrols could be cut included the number of children crossing, the number and type of vehicles passing through the site, and what safety measures were in place.

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But pupil numbers at Astley Primary are set to increase from 205 to 315 pupils when a new classroom block is completed next year.

And the busy B1354 Fakenham Road, which runs past the school, is used by lorries and large agricultural vehicles at the times children are travelling to and from school.

Headteacher Helen Pegg said she had not been consulted about the decision, which had been taken after numbers of pupils using the crossing were counted on a single day in April when it was raining heavily and most parents drove their children to school.

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