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Bromley parents should ‘pay for lollipop patrols themselves’

PUBLISHED: 12:59 26 May 2011

Lollipop man David Cook with parents and children he helps cross the busy Westmoreland Road every morning and afternoon for school

Lollipop man David Cook with parents and children he helps cross the busy Westmoreland Road every morning and afternoon for school

Archant

Parents furious over plans to sack a lollipop man on a busy main road have been told by the council to stump up the cash themselves to save him.

Speaking ahead of a public meeting on council cuts, expected to be held last night, parents of children at St Mark’s Primary School, Bromley, warned the council sacking lollipop David Cook – who mans Westmoreland Road just metres from the school – could be a fatal decision.

Laurence Fenoglio’s 10-year-old daughter Emma attends the school. He said: “This road is dangerous enough to cross as an adult. When it is raining you can stand here and the cars just don’t stop.

“I am not exaggerating, everyone is furious. This is just an accident waiting to happen.”

Mr Cook, 41, took up the position in 2009 after having to leave his job driving London buses due to a bad back.

“The crazy thing is if I sign on I am still getting money from the government. I have said I would rather work for my money but no one is listening,” he said.

The council plans to save £233,000 through cutting 50 school crossing assistants at the end of this financial year as part of plans to cut £40million over the next four years.

Councillor Colin Smith, portfolio holder for environment, said parents and schools must save the service themselves.

He said: “The simple answer is there is no money. Parents say their children are at risk. The question I would put to them is is it not reasonable for the council to ask for a contribution to ensure their children’s safety?”

He suggested schools pay for the lollipop men and women, or PTA groups club together to volunteer their own time to patrol crossings.

Adele Titford put a petition together with other St Mark’s parents to save Mr Cook’s job and is outraged at the suggestion.

“The council expects the schools to pay – but they are already being squeezed themselves. This is not just about the salary, there are insurance costs to take into account as well. This is a vital frontline service that can not be cut.”

She called on the council to use its £50million in reserves to save the post.

Mr Smith said this would be short-sighted. “It is a fool’s option. We would use all our reserves in two years and then lose all the interest we make on it year-on-year,” he added.


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