Crossing patrol plan will ‘put young lives at risk’

Longridge School Crossing Patrol Lady Irene Reid MBE at work on Berry Lane
Longridge School Crossing Patrol Lady Irene Reid MBE at work on Berry Lane
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One of Lancashire’s longest serving lollipop ladies has slammed plans to change the way school crossing patrols are funded.

Irene Reid, who was awarded an MBE for her job, has warned of “choas” if lack of funding leads to the number of patrols being slashed.

Lancashire County Council has approved a scheme, which if it goes ahead, would see the current criteria for crossing patrols scrapped. Instead, all schools would be offered £2,000 to run the service themselves.

However, it is estimated that the current service costs between £2000 to 2,500.

The proposal has already come under fire from some schools, where governors fear they would be unable to meet the extra costs and services would have to be scrapped, putting children at risk.

Irene, who has been crossing youngsters across roads in Longridge for 46 years, said: “People who make these decisions have not stood with me on my crossing all week in all sorts of weather.”

The plan , which will shave £500,000 from the county council budget, was slammed as “ridiculous” by some councillors.

Coun David Smith said: “It is an ill thought out scheme which, whilst compromising the safety of children, contributes little to the £300m cuts the council needs to make and takes no account of schools where there are shared or more than one crossing warden.”

He added: “To propose a cut that could place child safety at risk I find abhorrent.”

Coun David Borrow, deputy leader of the county council said the changes were not due to come into affect until 2015/16, which left “plenty of time” for consultation with schools.