Plea for Sunderland school crossing patrol

Councillors Alan Wright (left) and Stuart Porthouse on the main road beside East Herrington Primary School.

Councillors Alan Wright (left) and Stuart Porthouse on the main road beside East Herrington Primary School.

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URGENTLY required – lollipop men or women for a busy road.

Parents and councillors are again appealing to people to apply for a new crossing patrol near East Herrington Primary School.

The Silksworth Road crossing, which most children at the school need to get over to get in each day, has been within out a patrol since June when the previous incumbent retired and no one applied to take up the role.

Vicky Gamblin, 38, of Longmeadows, East Herrington, whose son Lucas, nine, attends East Herrington Primary, said: “Because of the bend there’s nowhere for the children to cross, so I’m now bringing my car closer to the school, which I don’t really want to do.

“You want to be able to let your children walk into school, but I can’t let a nine-year-old cross here on his own.”

St Chad’s ward councillor Stuart Porthouse has now drawn up a discussion document, to highlight the problem of “recruitment and retention” of school crossing patrols.

Coun Porthouse said: “Most drivers are quite understanding and slow down, but that is a problem in itself.

“We are two patrols short in this ward. It’s a low-paid position and of course the people doing it need to live nearby instead of paying travel costs.”

Coun Alan Wright, who also represents the ward, said that the problem was indicative of the lack of crossing patrols within Sunderland.

He added: “We are about 20 short across the city and it’s so difficult to get them in.

“We are not knocking the council officers at all about this.

“Maybe we could put a central refuge in the road for people to cross.

“We still want to get a crossing patrol in place, but if we can’t at the minute it would add to the safety.”

Coun James Blackburn, cabinet member for attractive and inclusive city, said: “We are aware of people’s concerns and have been doing everything we can to recruit a school crossing patrol officer for the school, and we will continue to do so.

“We would encourage people to use the designated safe crossing to the school on Silksworth Road, which is marked by a dropped kerb and raised tactile pavement.

“Sadly the national shortage of school crossing patrol officers is reflected in the situation in Sunderland.

“We would urge anyone interested in taking up the post to contact 561 1525.”

Twitter: @davidallison88