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Staffordshire crossing wardens funding cuts 'putting children's lives at risk'

By Megan Archer | Staffordshire | Politics | Published:

Crossing wardens have said children’s lives will be put at risk in Staffordshire if funding for the patrol service is withdrawn.

Earlier in 2018, Staffordshire County Council announced plans to stop paying for the 248 school crossing patrols and instead is urging businesses and communities to pick up the task from September.

It is a move that would save the cash-strapped authority £290,000 in 2019 and £250,000 the following year.

But the proposal sparked outrage among communities and almost 7,000 people have signed an online petition opposing it.

Crossing wardens from across the area have spoken out against the planned cuts, which they say will put children in danger.

Dorothy Curtis, aged 80, from Stone, patrols at St Dominic’s Primary School. She said her future felt 'uncertain'.

“I think it’s a dangerous spot here, there is a pedestrian crossing but traffic doesn’t always stop and kids don’t always look before stepping out - we’ve been lucky so far," she said.

“It’s the younger kids that are vulnerable, it’s not my job but I stay to help the people from the nursery nearby cross too. I ought to retire but it’s the safety of the children I think of.”

Dave Curtis, aged 77, also from Stone, is a crossing warden near Pirehill First School. He added: "The main thing is the safety of the children. I deal with two streams of school children here and this road is a mad house traffic-wise.

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“Middle school kids are OK crossing, it’s the little ones you need to look out for and more cuts won’t help."

The county council, which would save £540,000 if the move went ahead, would still provide training, uniforms and equipment if alternative funding is found.

Council leaders say the proposal to cut funding for the crossing patrols has been made ‘reluctantly’.

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Helen Fisher, cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “We are facing a budget shortfall of £35 million, so face some very difficult decisions about what non-statutory services we can continue to fund. Very reluctantly this includes the school crossing patrol service.

“All our patrols are amazing and that’s why if the proposals do go ahead, we hope communities and businesses will step forward to fund as many roles as possible.”

The public consultation on the council’s budget proposals, including the crossing patrol cuts, ended on December 31, with the final budget proposals to be presented in February.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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