Proposals for cuts to school crossing patrols are ‘absurd’, says councillor

No Caption ABCDE PPP-150112-115259001
No Caption ABCDE PPP-150112-115259001

A parish council chairman has described the proposals to cut road crossing patrols for schools in the county as “absurd”.

Michael Williamson, chairman of Heacham Parish Council, believes the plans to axe crossing patrols for Heacham Infant and Junior schools would put the residents’ health, safety and wellbeing at risk.

Mr Williamson has voiced his concerns to Ian Webb, Norfolk County Council’s crossing patrol manager, in a letter in which he also asked for the consultation deadline to be extended by a month.

The chairman claimed that the parish council was not informed of the consultation period until two weeks after it had already opened.

He added that as the consultation period is set to run over the Christmas and New Year holiday break, he believes this would prevent the parish council from being able to complete a full consultation with parishioners.

Mr Williamson has taken issue with some of the comments made regarding the schools in Heacham too.

He said: “To say that neither of the roads are ‘main thoroughfares’ is a nonsense as anyone who lives in or knows the village will tell you. Cheney Hill (at the back entrance to the junior school) is one of the two main roads into the village.

“With regard to the infant and nursery school, we completely dispute the statement that this is an ‘extremely quiet road’.”

A spokeswoman for Norfolk County Council said: “We wrote to the staff and schools affected by the proposal before the Children’s Services Committee report was published in November and again afterwards to ensure they were well informed about the proposal and the consultation.

“We asked schools to share this information with parents, carers, students and the school community so that they were made aware too. The proposal has also received a lot of coverage in the media.”

Mr Williamson is not the only person to voice his concerns, as councillors from Norwich Green Party have also criticised the plans .

Green Party councillor Richard Bearman said: “Schools should be allowed to fund and maintain crossing patrols out of their own school’s budget, so the decision is made at the most local level.”

To have your say on the proposal, complete the online consultation, which is available until December 31 at: www.norfolk.citizenspace.com/consultation/roadcrossingpatrols/