PARENTS and children held a protest march through a South Yorkshire village to highlight their anger at plans to axe two lollipop ladies.
Barnsley Council plans to axe the school crossing patrols on Hoyland Road and Sheffield Road, Hoyland Common, as part of cuts over the next financial year. A third patrol, on Doncaster Road, Barnsley, is also set to go.
The redundancies would save the council £50,000.
The Hoyland sites include a traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossing but villagers say they would not feel safe without their lollipop ladies.
Mum-of-three Nicky Tillotson, who was on the march, said: “When schools are encouraging children to walk to school, how can we let them if they’re not going to be safe?
“There has to be someone there to help them cross the road. Drivers do not always follow speed restrictions or stop at red traffic lights.”
Fraser Mellor, aged 18, one of the protest organisers, said: “These patrols put their lives at risk twice a day, five days a week in all kinds of weather to ensure that children, parents and other vulnerable road users are able to cross safely.
“A set of traffic lights and a pelican crossing cannot do the job of a feeling, seeing human being. There have been two accidents involving pedestrians on Sheffield Road in recent years, one involving a child who was critically injured.”
Hundreds of Hoyland residents have signed a petition against the plans to present to Barnsley Council and plan further demonstrations.
Barnsley Council said it has to consider the cuts because of pressures on its budget – the final version of which is set to be agreed at a full council meeting on March 10.
■ Plans to freeze a £1 million grant Barnsley Council pays to the company running leisure facilities means three centres would closure. Barnsley Premier Leisure says it would need £1.4m, otherwise Wombwell Baths, Penistone Leisure Centre and Athersley Sports Centre will shut with the loss of 44 jobs.