PARENTS have been left outraged after a long-serving crossing patroller was ‘stolen’ and moved by the Barnsley Council from one school to another – to appease a 600-signature petition to boost safety.
Shortly after parents and carers at three primary schools on Shaw Lane in Kingstone celebrated the return of a crossing patroller to Racecommon Road, parents at Birdwell Primary School on Sheffield Road realised their lollipop lady had been moved to a new post, leaving them with no help.
Following the petition put to the council by Liam Hardcastle for a safe crossing on Racecommon Road, the council announced an experienced patroller – Wendy Jones – would be instated.
Prior to Wendy being moved, Coun Chris Lamb said: “We were aware of a need to provide a patrol on Racecommon Road prior to the petition.
“An experienced patrol officer has recently became available and will be deployed to this location as a priority.”
But Philip Brusby, 45, whose children attend Birdwell Primary School, said this was not the case and that Wendy had been ‘stolen’.
“We were just told by the school that there would be no crossing lady for the forseeable future, so I thought Wendy must not be very well or something like that,” said Philip.
“She just suddenly wasn’t there one day.
“It’s such a shame because she knew every child’s name, even their siblings who don’t go to the school – she’s been the crossing lady there for more than six years to my knowledge.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw in the Chronicle that she had just been moved to Racecommon Road.
“I planned to speak to the local councillor about having a petition set up for her to be reinstated but then I realised it was Coun Lamb who incorrectly said she had become ‘available’ and moved.
“Having no crossing patrol is so dangerous, especially because people speed on Sheffield Road and there are so many new developments like the new McDonald’s and Hermes distribution hub down the road.”
Philip has now asked Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock to help launch a petition for Birdwell to have a crossing patroller put back in place.
Coun Chris Lamb, cabinet spokesperson for environment and transport, said: “Following discussions between the school, the school crossing patroller and the council, Wendy has moved to the vacant school crossing patroller position on Racecommon Road.
“We’d informed the school that we'll advertise for a replacement in the new year, and we’re in the process of doing this.
“We're also working hard to find a temporary replacement patroller in the meantime.
“Road safety for all Barnsley children is very important to us and I've asked that the vacancy at Birdwell be filled as quickly as possible.
“I’d encourage any interested local residents to apply for the new role at Birdwell when it is advertised.”