‘Only a matter of time before someone hurt’

TWO councillors believe it is ‘only a matter of time’ before a child is seriously hurt – unless vacancies for school crossing patrols are filled at a pair of local schools.

The Laurels First School, in Winterbourne Way, West Durrington, and Broadwater C of E First and Middle school, in Rectory Gardens, Broadwater, have both tried unsuccessfully to recruit ‘lollipop’ people over the past year.

The Laurels have now been searching for someone for nearly two years.

West Sussex County Council has inspected both schools and admitted patrols are necessary, and parents have spoken of terrifying ‘near misses’.

Mother-of-two Diane Jones, Lib Dem councillor for Northbrook ward, has campaigned to fill the vacancy at The Laurels for the last two years.

She said: “We have had a very close miss involving a parent reversing and almost knocking a young boy over.

“The crossing patrol would be on Romany Road and serve The Laurels, as well as the nearby Hawthorns First School (in Poplar Rd).”

She added: “With Tesco just minutes away, the heavy traffic makes it a very busy road and a crossing is very much needed.”

Despite the recent recession resulting in numerous people struggling to find work, the positions have been left vacant for some time.

Broadwater C of E has been without a crossing patrol in Rectory Gardens since September.

Victoria Taylor, Lib Dem councillor for Broadwater and mother of two children at the school, said a crossing patrol is ‘desperately needed’.

She said: “The point most children cross – and where the former lollipop man stood - is on a bend on Rectory Gardens, which is often used as a shortcut by commuters from Broadwater Road to Ardsheal Road.

“Despite signs, they often go very fast.”