Crossing move ‘could cost lives’

Crossing patrols are being axed throughout South Lanarkshire
Crossing patrols are being axed throughout South Lanarkshire

Parents in Bothwell have warned council chiefs children’s lives are being put at risk by the removal of a school crossing patroller.

Pupils will no longer get help crossing Fallside Road on their way to St Bride’s Primary when they return after the Easter holidays.

Patrollers are being removed from 22 sites in South Lanarkshire in a bid to save money. Another of the locations affected is Lower Millgate, near Muiredge Primary and St John the Baptist Primary in Uddingston.

Angry St Bride’s parents met to discuss the move and parent council chair Anne-Marie Cusick expressed their views in a letter to council leader Eddie McAvoy.

She was “astounded” the cuts were being made just weeks after a council report revealed the number of children seriously hurt on the roads doubled last year.

Mrs Cusick said a survey which concluded Fallside Road no longer met the criteria for having a patroller was carried out in December 2015.

She wrote: “The information gathered then is out of date as there have been 45 new homes built on Fallside Road which will contribute potentially 90 cars.”

Mrs Cusick calculated the move would save the council just £4545 “at the expense of providing a safe route to school”. She added: “You cannot, and I will not allow anyone to, put a price on a child’s head.

South Lanarkshire Council says it has had “difficult choices” to make in order to balance the books. It claims it’s the second highest spending council in Scotland on school crossing patrols.

In a letter to parents engineering manager Colin Park wrote: “We spend more per head of population than 30 of the 31 other councils in Scotland. However, there is no escaping the current financial climate and, as with everything else, the council has had to critically review this and all other areas of service provision, especially those we are offering over and above our legal requirements.

“The council has no legal obligation to provide school crossing patrollers. Rather, parents/carers are deemed to have responsibility for getting children safely to school. Despite this, we have continued to fund this service at significant levels.”

Last year the council axed lunchtime crossing patrols at all 135 locations in South Lanarkshire.