Parents urge council not to scrap lollipop patrols across Barking and Dagenham
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 February 2016 | UPDATED: 08:24 24 February 2016
Children face a “dangerous” walk to school as the future of lollipop crossings hangs in the balance.
Since 2014, patrollers at Barking and Dagenham’s 25 crossings have waited for the axe to fall on the £165,000 service. A final decision is expected to be made this year, but still the public has not been informed or consulted on how the service could be saved.
A spokeswoman said the council was “looking at a range of ways in which the entire cost of this service could be reduced”.
She added that 11 schools had been consulted and that the council was “extending the consultation period until the end of the summer term” – but was unable to say what form the consultation would take and whether parents could have their say.
Meanwhile lollipop lady Marie Douglas, who helps hundreds of pupils cross outside Five Elms Primary School in Dagenham, is making a stand.
“The only way we can continue is to get sponsorship to fund the lollipop service,” said the 46-year-old mum-of-three.
“We do save lives, but we don’t just do that, we also keep traffic going smoothly. As a driver you should care about the crossings, especially during rush hour.
“I absolutely love my job, it just makes me smile every single day.
“Lollipop men and ladies are a British institution like telephone boxes, Routemaster buses and fish and chips.”
Marie is hoping local businesses will stump up the cash, and has already approached Ford Dagenham, Morrisons and Asda for sponsorship.
“We’re encouraging any business who wants to sponsor us to approach the council,” she added, emphasising that the sponsors would be backing the service, and were not being asked on behalf of the council.
The council spokeswoman said the authority is in a difficult position, especially in terms of funding non-statutory services.
“Ultimately, it is up to all parents to ensure their children are safe until they reach the school gates,” she said.
“We will play our part by spending in excess of £250k installing new engineering works near to schools over the coming years.”
Parents believe the cost required is a small price to pay.
Mum-of-two Elena Timbulas, 34, lives in Elma Road, Dagenham. Her son Alex, seven, attends Southwood Primary School.
“It’s quite difficult to cross there, especially if you don’t have the lollipop lady,” she said. “My case is a bit special, because my son’s autistic so he needs help crossing. When there’s no cover for the lollipop lady it’s dangerous.
“I think it will be a nightmare. Sometimes 50 cars pass without stopping without the lollipop lady.”
Pick up a copy of today’s Post to see more of your views, and tell us what you think by emailing email@example.com
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Barking and Dagenham Post. Click the link in the orange box above for details.