Sheffield road safety ‘a priority’ vow

Sheffield Longist serving lolliop person 'Jacqueline Higginbottom
Sheffield Longist serving lolliop person 'Jacqueline Higginbottom
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Council bosses have pledged to prioritise road safety in Sheffield in the face of budget cuts.

The city’s team of lollipop men and women could grow smaller as the council looks to lose almost £100,000 from its road safety budget.

And Sheffield Council has said there are ‘no guarantees’ it will protect the number of crossing patrols in the next financial year.

But Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for development, said road safety was one of the council’s ‘key priorities’.

There is currently money in the budget for 80 posts across the city – but cash for road safety will be cut from £460,000 to £370,000 in 2013/14.

The announcement comes as figures show the number of lollipop people helping youngsters travel safely to and from school has dropped from 81 in 2009 to 77.

But council bosses have defended the fall with safety statistics which point to a drop in the number of children seriously injured or killed on the city’s roads.

The authority has also worked with South Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership and The Star on the It’s Your Child campaign, targeting irresponsible motorists.

Coun Bramall said: “We understand the importance of crossing patrol officers in keeping our roads safe.

“Road safety is one of our key priorities. For example, we are rolling out 20mph zones around schools, we have increased investment to make keep clear zig-zags around schools enforceable and have introduced mobile CCTV patrols around schools to help stop dangerous parking.

“Ongoing budget cuts from central government mean we cannot guarantee to protect any area of council services, but we are committed to road safety remaining a priority.”

Sheffield’s longest-serving lollipop woman Jacqueline Higginbottom, who has manned the post at Royd Nursery and Infants School in Deepcar for 38 years, said: “I think lollipop men and women should be protected.

“We’re still very much needed and I think if you asked any parent that they would tell you the same.

“It’s good that there is so much education for the little ones about crossing roads now, but kids are kids at the end of the day.”

A council spokesman said: “Compared with the 2005-09 average, in 2011 the number of children killed or seriously injured was 15 per cent lower.

“No child has been killed in a road collision in Sheffield since 2007.

“The casualty totals for all slight injuries, pedestrian casualties and all car user casualties are the lowest such totals since Sheffield became a Metropolitan District in 1974, when the area boundaries were changed.”