I’ll keep up pressure for lollipop patrol – MP

WAVENEY MP Peter Aldous pledged this week to keep up the pressure on Suffolk County Council to retain a school crossing patrol on a busy Lowestoft road.

The Tory MP was invited to visit the crossing patrol in Carlton Road as children walked to school on Monday.

'I was asked to come and see for myself the dangers faced by children at this particular crossing,' said Mr Aldous.

'Having seen that this is such a busy road, I believe that there is a need for a crossing patrol or other safety measures which could include a pedestrian crossing.

'I will be writing to the county council expressing my views on the matter,' he said.

Suffolk County Council is cutting its funding for lollipop patrols as part of efforts to save �42.5m. Cutting them around the county is estimated to save �174,000.

All 14 of Lowestoft's crossing patrols are due to be axed at the end of the school year in July.

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However, UKIP county councillor Bill Mountford is hoping to use �8,000 of his locality budget to keep four patrols – serving Grove Primary, Dell Primary and Elm Tree Primary – operating for a further year.

Teachers, governors and parents are still hoping that the patrol in Carlton Road, which serves pupils at Meadow Primary, Fen Park Primary, St Mary's Primary, Kirkley Middle and Kirkley High schools, will also be reprieved.

Roy King has been the patrol officer there for the past seven years and is convinced that a child would have been seriously injured crossing the road without his assistance. 'This is a busy crossing with children from a number of schools having to cross this road. It is also a popular route with motorists as it is so close to the town's relief road,' he said.

'Sometimes drivers do not slow down for me with my lollipop sign, so what chance has a young child got?'

The head of Meadow Primary, David Clarke, praised Mr King's contribution to safety.

'Roy's work here is vital, not only for pupils at Meadow Primary but for children from the other schools who use the crossing. There is a real need for a crossing patrol at this particular location,' he added.

After seeing the children using the lollipop patrol, Mr Aldous was invited to Meadow Primary, where he talked to children on the school council.

He was also shown a new extension, which includes an extra classroom, as the school will have extra pupils next year as part of the change from three-tier to two-tier education.