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'Lollipops' forced off the road
SPEEDING drivers have forced two school lollipop patrols off a busy road in Kidderminster, leaving children’s lives in “danger”.
Dangerous manoeuvres by drivers such as exceeding the 40mph speed limit and driving illegally in a hatched lane, in Birmingham Road, has led to several near misses for the workers, forcing Worcestershire County Council to remove them on Tuesday.
Stunned parents and staff at Offmore Primary School, however, claim they were left in the dark by the authority’s shock decision and only informed 30 minutes before the end of the school day.
The first parents knew about it was when they received a hasty text from headteacher Kate Beer, who said she was not told until about 2.45pm, despite the patrol staff being at the site in the morning.
Mrs Beer said: “We texted the parents within minutes of us receiving the notification ourselves. I think it’s unfair that the children’s safety was put in jeopardy.”
Concerns have now been raised for the safety of pupils, as some of them will be left to dodge traffic on the busy dual carriageway by themselves.
A spokesman for the county council, however, said police were on site yesterday morning and placed temporary signs in the area, warning people to slow down.
Chris Kimber, whose children Daniel, 10 and Matthew, 8, attend Offmore said it was a “terribly dangerous situation”.
“We have got children trying to cross this really dangerous road completely by themselves,” she said.
“I was shocked when I got the text.
Surely the solution isn’t to take away the crossing patrol and leave the children to cross by themselves?”
County councillors for the area Fran Oborksi and Mumshad Ahmed also claimed they were kept in the dark about the authority’s decision.
Liberal Mrs Oborski said: “It’s appalling.Obviously the county council has a duty of care of health and safety of its staff but they gave the school almost no notice at all.”
Labour’s Mr Ahmed added: “I’m really angry because I did not get consulted on the matter and the parents were not consulted. They have put children’s lives in danger.”
The county council spokesman said the authority was in discussions with the police to provide a uniformed presence on site as a shortterm solution, that might lead to the school crossing patrol being reinstated, adding it was also looking into coning off the hatched lane temporarily.
"Our highways engineers are working on this issue as a matter of urgency and are hoping to install a physical ‘build-out’ barrier as soon as possible to permanently stop drivers illegally travelling in the hatched lane,” he said.
“We are keeping the school fully informed of developments in order that they may update parents.”