Town to pick up £17,500 bill for crossing patrols

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THE SAFETY of hundreds of young Bury St Edmunds children was placed into the hands of its town council on Wednesday night as it moved in to take over the funding of school crossing patrols.

Bury Town Council has agreed on to make the safety of young people its concern by agreeing to fund crossing patrols when it is stopped by the county council in March as part of its spending cuts.

David Netteton, town council vice-chairman and finance chairman, said: “We don’t want to risk the lives of young children.

“Parents cannot be in two places at once and teachers should not be involved in doing it when they should be in school.”

Council Tax payers in the town will not have to pay any extra, with the projected cost of £17,500 being moved from other areas of the budget.

The county council will still administer the patrols, two of which are outside Westley Middle School, in Westley Road and Oliver Road; St Louis Middle School, in St Andrew’s Street South, and in Westgate Street, outside St Edmunds Catholic Primary.

But the 300-pupil Horringer Court Middle still remains a problem as it has been without a lollipop person for a year, forcing headteacher Tania Johnson and other staff to interrupt other duties to see youngsters across the busy Glastonbury Road.

This week yet another appeal went out to find a crossing patrol, which might suit a retired person, and offers £6.38 an hour, for six and half hours a week during the 38 weeks of term time a year.

Can you fill the Horringer Court gap? Contact Mary Jarrett, senior road safety officer, on 01473 265006.

It had cost Suffolk County Council some £230,000 a year to fund patrols outside nearly 100 schools, mostly in Ipswich, Bury and Lowestoft at an average of £2,232 a school.