Under threat Norfolk lollipop patrols could get winter reprieve

Decisions to scrap road crossing patrols could be put on ice until next year. Pic: Ben Birchall/PA W

Decisions to scrap road crossing patrols could be put on ice until next year. Pic: Ben Birchall/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A winter reprieve could prevent lollipop men and women disappearing from outside Norfolk's schools during darker mornings and nights.

Norfolk County Council voted in 2014 to cut funding for school crossing patrols by £150,000 a year for two years, but currently still pays for them at almost a hundred locations.

In March, the council agreed to only support the road crossing patrols which meet national thresholds as laid down by safety experts - which would see an estimated 40 of the 97 across the county disappear.

The criteria includes 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.

A group of councillors were tasked with considering which sites should lose their road crossing patrols and which should continue, with cuts due to be made in this financial year.

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But the Conservatives took back control of County Hall in May and Roger Smith, the new chairman of the children's services committee, wants to review the decision taken under the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat/UK Independence Party administration.

The result is that, at a meeting of the council's children's services committee on Tuesday next week, councillors will consider holding fire on deciding which patrols to axe.

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While the proposal is still to only fund patrols which meet the criteria, the committee will be asked to delay making the changes until April next year.

A report which will come before councillors states: 'This is in recognition of the potential for additional risk to children of road traffic incidents during the winter months and to enable us to develop and deliver a programme of road safety awareness for schools that will be affected.'

The committee will also be asked to carry out further monitoring of schools in November, including reviewing accident statistics at the sites.

That will then lead to recommendations for which patrols will survive and which will be stopped. Those recommendations will be put before the committee later in November, with consultation over changes due to start in December.

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