Launch of petition to fight axing of patrol

Left to right are Cllr Mike Turner, Cllr Andrew Batsford, Cllr Michael Wincott, Cllr John Hodges, Sarah Owen (Labour parliamentary candidate for Hastings), Cllr Dominic Sabetian and Cllr Phil Scott

Left to right are Cllr Mike Turner, Cllr Andrew Batsford, Cllr Michael Wincott, Cllr John Hodges, Sarah Owen (Labour parliamentary candidate for Hastings), Cllr Dominic Sabetian and Cllr Phil Scott

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A petition has been launched to fight proposals to axe a school crossing patrol.

Last week East Sussex County Council (ESCC) approved the installation of a zebra crossing at the junction of Elphinstone Road and Elphinstone Avenue and said the morning and afternoon school lollipop attendant’s services in the area will no longer be needed.

This week Sarah Owen, Labour parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, set up a petition calling for the patrol to be saved, which helps pupils attending Blacklands Primary Academy and The Baird Primary Academy. She said: “I’ve been campaigning for some time that every child deserves to get safely to school and pedestrians should be safe at all times. The residents, parents and pupils who cross this road deserve better than this mess from the decision-makers at the county council.”

Baird ward councillor Mike Turner said: “The crossing attendant is crucial for the safety of children. Our attendant has done a superb job over the years and any moves to axe the job will be detrimental to the safety of our youngsters.

“For the last five years I have lobbied ESCC to carry out safety measures on Elphinstone Road between the BOS playing field and Downs Road where several accidents have occurred. I have campaigned for a speed camera, traffic calming measures and a pedestrian crossing but to no avail. Present measures such as pedestrian refuge points, pinch points and the island at the junction of Downs Road far from improving public safety has in fact enhanced the problem.

“The council’s proposals for the siting of the zebra crossing will create a further safety hazard, especially for children crossing the road without a crossing attendant.

“Without the attendant’s protection, children’s safety will be put in peril by vehicles pulling out of the junctions within a few feet of the crossing. To compound safety problems, the council’s proposals include relocating the bus stop by Blacklands Drive further up the road northbound on a bend almost opposite the existing southbound bus stop where there have been some very close misses with the frequent practice of vehicles swerving the wrong side of the keep left bollard when overtaking a stationary bus during rush hour.”

Cllr Carl Maynard, ESCC lead member for transport and environment, said: “Following a request for an improved crossing in Elphinstone Road and a local consultation, we will be progressing with detailed designs and construction as part of the 2015/16 capital programme for local transport improvements. The installation of a crossing will mean the crossing patrol serving the nearby schools will no longer meet the criteria required to receive funding from county council. Instead all members of the public, including pupils from the schools, will benefit from a controlled crossing. We are happy to work with local schools if they wish to find an alternative way to fund a crossing patrol.” To sign the petition visit www.sarahowen.org.uk/lollypop.