Parents' road safety concerns after retirement of two long-standing lollipop ladies at Bartley Junior School
PARENTS are calling for safety action at a New Forest school after a youngster was clipped by a vehicle following the retirement of two longstanding lollipop ladies.
Bartley Junior School in Winsor Road, Bartley, lost its two crossing patrol officers within months of one another, in December 2021 and Easter 2022.
They oversaw Winsor Road and the A336 Southampton Road which both become tricky to navigate during the busy school run.
Parent Holly Green is leading a campaign to fill the vacant roles. She told the A&T she also wanted Hampshire County Council to install a pedestrian crossing to improve safety.
She said: “Lots of parents are concerned about the situation. One boy was clipped by a vehicle a week-and-a-half after one of the ladies retired.
“He was taken to hospital and although nothing was broken, he was badly bruised and on crutches for a while after.
“The school is very keen to promote active travel, so parents will park elsewhere and walk up. As the children get older, they walk by themselves but no one is happy about dropping them off further away, so now the traffic is a lot worse as more people are dropping their children closer to school. There have been several near misses.”
She added: “We have been urging for a pedestrian crossing to be installed but have been told by Hampshire County Council that it doesn’t meet the threshold for requiring it.
“If they recruit a lollipop lady then the problem will be solved, but no one seems to be looking at a long term solution – how long do you leave it until you look at other solutions?”
Another parent, Helen Grace, added: “Every time I drop my children off and I’m waiting in the queue my heart is in my mouth.
“Almost every day, a driver goes too fast or overtakes the queue of traffic. I hold my breath hoping they won’t have to slam on their brakes as a child is crossing.
“The roads around the school are too busy not to have some form of control.”
HCC’s cabinet member for highways operations, Cllr Nick Adams-King, said officers were looking at the police report of the boy’s collision with the vehicle, alongside the area’s injury accident record, and would “consider if any interventions could be put in place”.
He added: “Safety always comes first and we prioritise our resources to sites where there is evidence that installing new measures will bring about safety improvements, while taking into consideration pedestrian activity, traffic flows and parking.
The road safety education team will be contacting the school to offer advice and training, he went on, adding: “I would really encourage anyone locally who would be interested in the [crossing patrol] roles to apply.
“Reinstating the school crossing patrols can only help improve the children’s safety.”
To apply visit bit.ly/3z6oL5G