A leading councillor has insisted that school crossing patrols in South Tyneside are not at risk – but she did concede some may be removed from some areas.
South Tyneside Council confirmed last week that there is to be a review of the life-saving service in a bid to reduce costs.
The proposal to remove school crossing patrols in some parts of South Tyneside provoked outrage, with opposition councillor Lee Hughes, for Independent – Putting People First, labelling it “disastrous”.
Parents and grandparents picking children up at Mortimer Primary School, in South Shields, told the Gazette last week the review had left them worried.
However, Coun Moira Smith, the lead member for area management and community safety on South Tyneside Council, insists youngsters will be kept safe.
Coun Smith, who is also the mayoress of South Tyneside, said: “School crossing patrols are not at risk.
By delivering a more flexible service, we can put patrols where they are neededCoun Moira Smith
“We recognise the huge contribution that our staff in this area do and understand that parents highly value the vital role they play in keeping our young people safe when crossing the road to and from school.
“In fact, we are currently in the process of recruiting a further 13 new patrols across the borough.
“However, in this financially challenging climate, we do need to review all our services to ensure they are effective, efficient and value for money for taxpayers.
“Due to unprecedented funding cuts from central government, we must work within the constraints of our budget. By delivering a more flexible service, we can put patrols where they are needed. This may, for example, see patrols moved from sites where there are already other safety measures such as pelican crossings in place, to locations with greater need.”
Coun Smith has also pledged that the council will do all they can to keep roads safe.
She added: “Let me stress that we take our moral responsibility regarding the safety of our young people extremely seriously, and will make every effort to ensure they can cross the roads safely to and from school.”