Children in Norfolk village will be “at risk” if crossing patrol is axed

The crossing patrol close to Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt

The crossing patrol close to Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Parents and staff at Astley Primary School, at Briston, have been told their lollipopper could be axed in March.

The crossing patrol close to Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt

The crossing patrol close to Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Norfolk County Council wants to remove patrols from almost 40 schools, saving £150,000 a year, claiming research found they did not meet a national threshold set down by safety experts. A full list can be found here.

Danita Zappia, 54, from Briston, has two grand-children aged seven and five at Astley Primary.

Her six-year-old sister Natasha Park died after she was involved in a collision with a car near the school in March 1977.

'I wouldn't want anyone else to go through what my family went through,' she said. 'It was devastating. My mum was never the same again.

The crossing patrol close to Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt

The crossing patrol close to Astley Primary School in Briston. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

'When my sister was killed it was just the small Melton Constable Primary school. There weren't as many children then but it was still a busy road.


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'Now there's a huge amount of traffic going through there but as far as I'm aware no other child has been injured since there's been a patrol.'

Criteria used by Norfolk County Council to decide which patrols would be cut included the number of children crossing, the number and type of vehicles passing through the site, and what safety measures were in place.

But pupil numbers at Astley Primary are set to increase from 205 to 315 when a new classroom block is completed next year.

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In an e-mail to county councillors, headteacher Helen Pegg said she had not been consulted about the proposed closure. She said numbers of pupils using the crossing were counted on a single day in April when it was raining heavily and many parents drove their children to school.

'I feel very strongly that the children of the school will be at risk of serious harm both on the journeys to and from school,' she added. 'The speed limit is 30mph but this is not often adhered to. As a school we are also very concerned about the number and size of lorries that use the B1354 as a 'cut through' road.'

Parents have started an online petition, which can be accessed here.

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