Reprieve for ‘Gow lolliop lady as council reviews decision

Balgray Road junction near Woodpark Primary School
Balgray Road junction near Woodpark Primary School

There has been a last-minute reprieve for a Lesmahagow lollipop lady due to find herself out of a job after the Easter holidays.

After an outcry, and a petition backed by more than 300 people concerned about the safety of children crossing busy Balgray Road, South Lanarkshire Council is having a rethink.

And it will look again at the crossing, where children from Woodpark Primary are helped at the three-way junction of Priory Road, Abbey Hill Road and Balgray Road, as well as other spots throughout South Lanarkshire where it had planned to remove patrols.

Its head of roads and transportation, Gordon Mackay, said: “We have decided there will be a review of the 22 locations where school crossing patrollers were due to be removed following the school Easter holidays.

“In the meantime, it is intended to keep the patrollers at their current locations pending the results of this review.

“We have taken this decision following representations from a wide variety of people over the past few weeks.

“More information will be available when the review has been concluded.”

Nicola Wilson, who set up the online petition last month and took copies round the shops, described the removal of the crossing patrol and children heing left to negotiate the three-way junction alone as “an accident waiting to happen”, while the petition iteself called it “a recipe for disaster”.

The council had defended its original decision, saying that it had no legal obligation to provide school crossing patrollers but it had done so.

However, in the current “harsh” financial climate, it had had to review this and a number of patrollers were being removed, mainly from locations where there was “a relatively small number of children” using the patrol.

Nicola Wilson, who organised the petition said she did not know if the review was a direct response to that, but she added: “I am grateful to every person who signed this and supported my campaign.

“The lollipop lady is delighted to be returning to her post after the holiday and we are extremely happy and appreciate that the council have reconsidered the safety of the children although this should is a decision which never should have been made in the first instance.

“The children and the parents are also delighted that she will be returning after the holidays to safely cross them to school.”

And she hoped the final decision would be to keep the lollipop lady there.