Parents angered over lollipop lady axe

Parents of pupils who attend Newfold Primary School, St James Road, Orrell with their petition
Parents of pupils who attend Newfold Primary School, St James Road, Orrell with their petition

Fears have been raised about the safety of pupils from two primary schools after a decision was taken not to replace a lollipop lady on a busy road.

Concerned parents have launched a petition calling on Wigan Council to replace the crossing patrol on St James Road in Orrell after the previous lollipop lady retired.

It is simply astounding that the council are not planning to replace the school crossing patrol

Coun Michael Winstanley

But the council has said that the crossing outside Newfold Primary School, which served both it and St James Primary School, did not need to be replaced as a zebra crossing had been installed in 2013.

But parents fear that this is not enough to ensure their children’s safety, especially on such a busy road.

Vicky Fowler, whose two children attend St James, said: “There used to be a crossing patrol in place but the lollipop lady had a stroke before the summer holidays.

“She came back for a bit but then decided she couldn’t do it anymore and she hasn’t been replaced. I understand parents have to teach their children road safety but it is a busy road and cars don’t always stop at the crossing.

“As well as primary school children there are little ones that go to nursery and both schools’ entrances are right out onto the road.

“We started the petition and have at least 450 signatures but we have more to collect as well so there is a strong public feeling behind this.”

The petition has also received support from Orrell Conservative councillor Michael Winstanley.

He said: “It is simply astounding that the council are not planning to replace the school crossing patrol. Within a few hundred yards we have two primary schools and a secondary school. We have hundreds of children from Orrell crossing St James Road every day and this is a very busy road.

“The road is getting busier every year and yet more houses are currently being built on the former Billinge Hospital site.

“I will be certainly lobbying the council to make sure a replacement is in place and I hope the council will listen to the hundreds of people who are backing this campaign.”

Wigan Council said that each school crossing is graded into four categories, with grade A being the highest and D the lowest.

The council’s policy states that it will always staff crossing points that have been graded A and B with grade C and D being controlled by crossing patrol when staff levels allow.

The St James Road crossing was downgraded to C after the zebra crossing was installed.

Mark Tilley, Wigan Council’s assistant director for infrastructure, said: “The school crossing patrol who previously worked on the zebra crossing outside of Orrell Newfold School on St James Road has resigned.

“The crossing has an established zebra crossing which provides a safe place to cross at all times of the day and night.

“Road safety officers have arranged to go into Orrell Newfold school to undertake road safety activities with each year group, concentrating on using the zebra crossing safely. There is another patrol located on Sandy Lane which serves St James school – this patrol is still operating there.”

“In order to reassure parents with children at St James school road safety officers will also contact this school to offer the same level of road safety education to children there.

“Parents have a pivotal role in ensuring safe travel to school for their children.”

To find out more, email Vicky at Stjamessafetypatrolcrossing@yahoo.com or visit the St James Road Crossing Patrol Facebook page.