Concerned parents are fearing for their children’s safety after a “lollipop man” was taken away from a Creswell school - and are calling for his swift return.
Parents of pupils who attend Creswell Junior School say it is only a matter of time before a serious incident occurs. It comes after long-serving Barry Copcutt, who was based on the zebra crossing outside the school until December 18, was made redundant following cutbacks by Derbyshire County Council.
Parent Julie Dexter, whose son Jack attends nearby Creswell C of E Infants School, on Gypsy Lane, said: “I think it is ridiculous, it is absolutely dangerous.
“A lot of the mums used to let their children cross on their own but now they are having to cross with them.
“My daughter Rebecca will be attending the junior school in September so it will be a concern when she goes.
“I have got a feeling an accident will happen one day.”
Last year, Derbyshire County Council agreed to end the school crossing patrol service at 34 sites and not to replace them at another 61 when employees decide to leave.
The council said it made the decision to help save £157 million by 2018 due to Government austerity.
Before the cuts were officially approved, an online petition which received more than 10,000 signatures calling for the decision to be reconsidered was presented at a cabinet meeting in October.
Parent Vicky Bratton said: “A lot of the cars are impatient.
“There is going to be an accident one day. The lollipop man was brilliant, he would speak to the children every day. It is a big loss.”
Fellow parent, Heidi Diamond, added: “Just the other day Barry was here helping the children cross the road out of the goodness of his heart.”
There are still two other crossing patrols based near the junior and infant schools and the zebra crossing where Mr Copcutt was located remains.
Lollipop lady, Helen Martin, told the Guardian: “There has not been any accidents at the minute but it is going to come.
“Cars are still going the normal speed, they are not taking into consideration the children coming out of school.
“People are quite concerned because of the way in which the cars come down the road.
“I don’t think people take us for granted anymore.”
Derbyshire Police said there had not been any reported road traffic accidents outside the school or in the area since the children returned after the festive period.
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “While we don’t want to reduce any of our services we’re facing unprecedented pressures to our budget mainly due to Government cuts.
“This means we are having to make difficult decisions including stopping the school crossing patrol service where there are zebra or light controlled crossings. However, this has enabled us to retain school crossing patrols at sites where there is no alternative in place and where assessments have identified a greater need for a patrol.”
We’re always willing to discuss alternative sources of funding with schools that are affected.”