Nearly two-thirds of schools’ lollipop crossing services in the borough have been axed as part of Ealing Council’s swingeing cut-backs.
A cabinet meeting on Tuesday confirmed nine of the crossing services have been axed, leaving just six in the borough. Parents with youngsters at schools affected say they are risking the lives of children for the sake of savings.
Ealing Council said schools will be given the option to take on the day-to-day management of the crossing or for parents to organise a volunteering scheme.
Among the locations losing the service is the junction of Kingshill Avenue with Rayners Crescent. Lollipop lady Carol Winter helps primary pupils from Downe Manor and St Raphael’s schools, both in Northolt, and Belmore School in Hayes, to cross the busy road. It has a green man crossing but parents say this does not justify the scrapping of the service.
Tanya Dolphin has two children at the school in Down Way. She launched a Save Our Lollipop Lady Facebook page last Thursday which has already gained more than 280 ‘likes’. She said: “The council seem to think that she’s not needed at this junction, but as you can see from the Facebook page a lot of people will disagree with that. It’s a very busy road and you have trouble getting cars to stop with a lollipop lady there.”
She said around 300 pupils from Downe Manor and the same number from St Raphael’s use the crossing daily, with many more from Belmore.
Susan McGlynn who has two children at St Raphael’s, said: “There will be an accident. There’s a green man crossing but you know what children are like, they don’t look properly when they cross the road.”
Another crossing which will be scrapped is at the junction of Greenford Avenue and Drayton Bridge Road in Hanwell. Pupils from Drayton Manor High and Hobbayne and St Joseph’s primary schools all cross at that spot.
Journalist Anna Webster has children aged eight and six at Hobbayne and is furious with the plans. She said: “It’s such a chaotic crossing. There’s a real danger of children stepping out and being taken out.
“Essentially everyone in the catchment area goes through that junction, it's pretty hard to avoid.
“It goes without saying that local parents are deeply concerned about this short-sighted and downright dangerous proposal.”
Last week Ealing Council said it was being forced to make substantial cuts as it looked to make savings of £96 million.
Town hall transport boss councillor Bassam Mahfouz said nearly three fifths of the council budget is being slashed by the government and other safety measures such as pelican crossings were available at all affected sites.
He added: “As a parent of a five-year-old and someone who got involved in politics to improve road safety I wouldn’t have taken a decision like this if I thought it would have a negative impact on children.”