Half of Torfaen's school crossing patrols face axe

MORE than half of the school crossing patrol sites in Torfaen are set to be axed, leaving one school governor "gravely concerned" for children's safety.

The controversial review into crossing patrols by Torfaen council has found that less than half of the 40 crossing patrol sites - of which 30 are operational - met criteria from national guidelines.

It means only 19 sites will retain patrols, while none of the 17 lunchtime operations in the borough were said to be ‘justified’.

It is estimated the changes will save the cash-strapped local authority around £65,000 per annum if the review is approved later this month - a date is yet to be announced.

But worry is rife among those set to lose, including Cwmffrwdoer Primary School, which will lose three three patrols, on Waunddu, Chapel Road, and Zion Hill.

Councillor Kelvin Harnett, who is also a governor of the school, said he was “gravely concerned” for the safety of pupils.

“Our three crossings are necessity,” he said. “There are no pavements in the area and the condition of the roads are awful. We will be fighting this.”

He also said he would be attending an emergency meeting tomorrow over the issue.

Fears were also raised on social media sites, with Facebook users particularly concerned about Victoria Primary, which will lose one on Cwmavon Road and a second on Lower Harper's Road.

Simon Jenkins said: “These were brought in because children were getting knocked down. If Victoria Village school crossing are being fought, I will sign a petition.”

Cllr Giles Davies also said he was felt appeals were likely at Victoria, calling the area around it, a “death trap at home time”.

Judith Price added: “No child's safety should be put before profit. This issue has to be stopped now, every child should be safe getting to and from school.”

The council is currently in the process of communicating with all patrollers and other key stakeholders. Some employees are already said to have expressed an interest in taking voluntary redundancy.

Councillor John Cunningham, executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “Our current crossing patrol service has remained largely the same for around 18 years and in that time travel habits have changed.

“All sites have been reviewed in-line with the national criteria and as a result it is clear that certain patrols are no-longer justified. Changes to the service will be monitored on an on-going basis and, if a school feels that a particular crossing patrol is still required and wants to fund it, then we will help to facilitate this.”

The review was carried out in-line with the School Crossing Patrol Service Guidelines produced by Road Safety GB. It measured the number of pedestrians and the volume of traffic at each site, and also highway infrastructure, speed data, and the collision history in the area.

A full list of the proposed changes can be seen at http://bit.ly/1i2Lq3j

To comment on the proposals email Highways.Transportation@torfaen.gov.uk or write to The Head of Highways and Transportation, Ty Blaen Torfaen, Panteg Way, New Inn, Pontypool, NP4 0LS.

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