Anger over lollipop patrols being axed to save money

Woodpark Primary School is near the junction with Balgray Road, Lesmahagow.
Woodpark Primary School is near the junction with Balgray Road, Lesmahagow.

The axeing of six school crossing lollipop patrols in Clydesdale by South Lanarkshire Council has come under attack for being an unnecessary – and potentially tragic – cutback.

Long-established lolliop patrols have now disappeared from Cleghorn Road, Lanark; Belstane Road, Carluke; Thornton Road, Kirkmuirhill, Station Road and Muir Street, Law; Balgray Road and Propry Road, Lesmahagow; and Lanark Road, Carstairs.

The independent group on the council has strongly attacked its new Scottish National Party administration for failing to reverse the service cuts originally planned by the former Labour administration it replaced after the summer’s local election.

Said a group spokeswoman: “Noting council reserves of £98m against the £100,000 saving here, we call on the council to reverse this decision.

“The safety of our children should be paramount.”

Gordon Mackay, head of roads at the council, said: “Even though there is no statutory obligation to provide school crossing patrols, we have continued to fund this service at a significant level and, in fact, figures show that South Lanarkshire provides the second highest level of funding – £1.2m – of all 32 councils in Scotland in delivering this service.

“However, there is no escaping the financial climate we are forced to live in, and everyone is aware that the council has had to critically review all areas of service provision, especially those where we are offering over and above our legal requirements.

“Following a review of the service, a number of patrollers were removed where it was appropriate to do so.

“These predominantly cover locations where there is a small number of children using the patrollers.

“Risk assessments were carried out at every location where it was proposed to remove a patroller to ensure that roads could still be crossed safely, provided that care is taken and that children are accompanied by an adult.”