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Plans to axe school crossing patrols across Lichfield and Burntwood are halted

Plans to axe school crossing wardens have been halted.

lollipop

In an email to members of Staffordshire County Council, leader Philip Atkins said the proposal – which was part of a plan to plug a £35million funding gap – had been taken off the table.

The controversial move would have seen council-funded lollipop men and women replaced with community-funded alternatives.

But in an email to members of the council seen by Lichfield Live, Cllr Atkins said public criticism of the proposals had forced a rethink.

“We have faced some incredibility difficult choices about which non-statutory areas we could continue to fund, including the school crossing patrol service,” he said.

“After listening to public feedback, we feel this is not the right time to pursue this option and therefore we will not be taking this any further at this time.”

Cllr Atkins said the move would mean the council must still find ways to plug the funding gap.

Cllr Philip Atkins. Pic: M Holland
Cllr Philip Atkins. Pic: M Holland

He said: “Although this means it will continue to cost the council around £1.4m to run the [school crossing] service, and therefore brings with it other financial pressures which will need to be met, I am sure you will agree it is the right thing to do.

“While the one-off Government funding for social care and highways was of course welcome, it is the long-term funding of social care which needs an urgent solution.  We will continue to press the Government on this matter.”

It was not clear how many of the lollipop crossing roles would have been replaced by community-funded alternatives had the proposal gone ahead, but Cllr Atkins said alternatives for some services traditionally run by councils would need to be explored in all areas.

“With less money to go around, councils can no longer fund everything they would like to do, and we are being honest with communities about that,” he continued.

“This means focusing more on empowering communities to deliver alternative, affordable local solutions to support their families, friends and neighbours.

“I know many of you raised concerns about proposals to review timescales for reducing funding to the voluntary sector.  With this in mind, we are also planning to continue to support people helping people through our work with the voluntary sector and a revised Local Community Fund to help you in your key role of supporting your local communities.”

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2 Comments

  1. Steve

    22nd January, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Don’t get too excited.

    The cuts will be reintroduced, just after the council elections in May 2019.

  2. Steven Norman

    23rd January, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    That is what Cllr Atkins’ means by “this is not the right time” of course.