Hundreds back new campaign to save Hartlepool school crossing patrols

Opposition councillors have hit out at moves to cut school crossing patrols at nine sites in Hartlepool and demanded the locations be made public.

By Nic Marko
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 3:44 pm

Their move comes amid growing anger at the decision with a new petition already attracting more than 500 signatures.

This included saving £32,000 by reducing the number of school crossing patrols from 28 to 19.

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Labour councillor Jonathan Brash has criticised the decision not to disclose the crossing patrols affected by the cuts.

Labour councillors in Hartlepool, who voted against the cuts at that meeting, are now demanding the locations of the nine crossings be revealed to the public.

Conservative councillor Cameron Stokell, deputy council leader, has responded by saying the authority has contacted the schools affected and continues to work with them, including offering safety training and other alternatives.

He added the scale of the financial savings required to balance the 2022-23 budget meant “many of those savings proposals were never going to be easy decisions”.

But Labour councillor Rachel Creevy, De Bruce ward representative, said: “Cutting our lollipop ladies at a time when roads are getting ever busier puts the lives of our children at risk.

Deputy council leader Councillor Cameron Stokell.

“I know that we will support local residents in campaigning to reverse this ludicrous decision.”

Cllr Jonathan Brash, deputy leader of the Labour Group, added residents have “an absolute right to know every cut” planned and added: “I said at the time of these decisions that it was wrong to withhold information from the public. It is their money, their services and their council.”

Labour wrote to Cllr Stokell, the chair of Neighbourhood Services, over the issue, who responded with a letter of his own defending the move.

Cllr Stokell has accused the opposition of “playing politics” and said its councillors did not vote against the move when it was being discussed in earlier meetings.

He said: “The reality is they had chance to influence this, and they did nothing.

“The decision to make these savings was supported by both neighbourhood services committee and children’s services committee, during the discussions at no time did any Labour member propose to remove the option from the table.

Cllr Stokell said the council has “offered training to schools and the potential of other alternatives”.