Celebrations after u-turn on Harlow’s lollipop patrols

Politics / Tue 20th May 2014 pm31 01:12pm

THERE were celebrations at Potter Street Academy and William Martins Primary as Essex County Council performed a u-turn on their proposal to withdraw funding for the crossings.

At a cabinet meeting in Chelmsford this morning (Tuesday, May 20) highways and transport boss, cllr Rodney Bass said all but seven (four of which are currently vacant) of the school crossings patrols set to be axed would now be saved.

County Hall say the decision came following an extensive period of consultation and a large number of representations, including many from schoolchildren.

Cllr Bass said that the 48 school crossing patrols at zebra crossings which were under review will keep their lollipop patrols, subject to normal review mechanisms.

Cllr Bass also recommended that future funding options, aimed at expanding the service, should be examined by a Scrutiny Committee task and finish group.

He said: “This announcement proves Essex County Council listens. Representations have been made during an extended period of consultation and we have examined and analysed them.

“The financial position of Essex County Council is better than it was when we started this consultation as we have been single-mindedly engaged in transformation which has made our financial position strong.”

County councillor Mike Mackrory, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition Group, said: “It is a pity this decision wasn’t made at last Tuesday’s full council when our motion, calling on the Cabinet Member to abandon his proposal to withdraw funding for school crossing patrols, was rejected by the Conservative administration. It was even described as ‘puerile’ by a leading Conservative Member.

“In a recorded vote every Conservative member voted against the motion.”

His criticism was echoed by UKIP, Essex County Council, Kerry Smith. He said: “We are very pleased the Conservative administration has listened to us. We offered them a number of alternatives and they have seen sense.

“We are pleased that the children can get to school safely.”

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Harlow Suzy Stride said: “I am very pleased that Conservative Essex County Council has seen sense on this and have finally agreed to not cut school crossing patrols.

“After months of campaigning by the local community and councillors, I welcome the U-turn by the Conservative administration. School crossing patrols provide a vital service to people in Harlow and people across Essex, and cutting them would risk children’s lives.

“I want to thank the local community and the Labour county councillors as well as Lollipop staff for all their hard work on this campaign.”

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