Sunderland lollipop crossings face axe

EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY MARCH 30 Vanessa DeLoughran with Cameron, 10, and Lily, 8, at a crossing in East London with Vanessa is pictured in TalkTalk's proposed lollipop patrol uniform, as a competition is being launched which will result in funding for TalkTalk branded lollipop ladies.
Picture by: Hugo Philpott / PA Archive/Press Association Images

A campaign has been launched to save school crossing patrols.

Sunderland City Council wants to take away all the funding for lollipop men and women across the city. It’s part of their plans to save £180 million between now and 2020. The plans would see most lollipop men and women axed, whilst the most dangerous roads could retain crossing patrols if they are staffed by volunteers or sponsored by businesses.

Sunderland Council admits that vulnerable child pedestrians will be put at risk by the decision, but proposes to “continue despite negative implications”.

Lib Dem campaigner for Millfield and Thornholme, Niall Hodson, has launched a campaign to save the school crossing patrols. He said: “I am shocked that councillors in charge of Sunderland Council have approved plans to axe all of the funding for lollipop men and women across the city. This appalling move is completely unacceptable and poses serious risks to the safety of young people walking to and from school every day.
“I’ve been speaking to parents of children at St Mary’s and Richard Avenue Primary Schools, and at Diamond Hall in Millfield. They are disgusted at the idea, and at the fact the Council hasn’t told them that this is what it is planning. That’s why I’m launching a campaign to let parents know about this proposal; Liberal Democrats on Wearside will be fighting it every step of the way.
“Sunderland Council is sitting on £189 million of ‘usable reserves’. Instead of putting children’s safety at risk, the Council should use some of this money to pay for school crossing patrols.”

The proposals were approved by Cabinet in January, and are due to form part of the Council’s 2016/17 budget which will come into force in April.

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