Brent Council slashes school crossing patrol budget by �110,000
Six-figure cut raises fears over the saftey of the borough’s schoolchildren
The budget which pays for Brent’s school lollipop men and women will be slashed by �110,000 over the next three years, sparking new fears for their future.
Brent Council plans to save �30,000 during the next financial year, a further �40,000 the year after and another �40,000 the year after that. Costing �6,000 each annually, nearly 20 patrols would have to go to meet its targets.
The council says no employees will lose their jobs but they will not be replaced in “low priority” sites when they retire or resign.
But this has sparked fears for children’s safety.
Cllr Paul Lorber (Liberal Democrat), ward councillor for Sudbury, said: “This has been a big issue because about a year ago the council identified 20 places which would lose their patrols.
“Now they have devised this rather devious scheme where they will remove patrols piecemeal.
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“Even if it is just the one crossing being lost at one time, it still has an impact on the children at the school.”
Eric Thorn, a crossing patrol warden for more than 20 years, is in charge of Wembley Primary School’s crossing in East Lane.
He said: “Patrols are very important because although my crossing is a zebra crossing, we frequently get cars that don’t want to stop.
“It doesn’t have to be me who does the job. I do it because I worry about road safety.”
Last year parents joined a campaign led by George Burns, of Chambers Lane, Willesden, to save their school crossing patrol. A petition signed by hundreds of residents was handed to the council.
Low priority sites are places where there are safety precautions already in place, such as pelican crossings.
Schools will have the option to pay �6,000 out of its own budget if it wants to keep its crossing patrol.
A council spokesman said: “We are continuing with the school crossing policy where any vacancies arising from natural staff turnover at non-priority sites will not be filled and vacancies at any of the priority sites will be filled by transferring staff from a low priority site.
“Schools which lose their patrol will have a number of options open to them, including buying the service back. No school crossing patrol officers in Brent will lose their jobs under this arrangement.”