I would like to ask the following question on the Revenue Monitoring 2017\2018 Outturn:
Page 43 of the General Fund Summary - Carry Forwards refers to School Crossing Patrollers. It states that the Budget spend is aligned with the phased approach to ending the delivery of the SCP Service.
Does this mean that Wokingham Borough Council is intending to remove ALL School Crossing Patrollers regardless of the results of the consultations and the concerns of parents and local residents?
Your proposition that the lack of a budget item automatically means ignoring the results of a consultation is unfortunately way too simplistic. All consultation responses are extensively reviewed to see if they are appropriate first and if so how extensive is that view.
As an example, in April 2017 from phase 1 of this action a significant proportion of the comments received related to general road safety issues, i.e. poor driving, speeding vehicles, inconsiderate parking.
In the current consultation, which is currently being finalised, the general road safety issues raised were dangerous driving, speeding vehicles again and poor parking. None of these issues are reduced or removed by the presence of a School Crossing Patroller so therefore those issues are not appropriate for this particular action.
Phase 1 patrollers were removed from the eight locations where they were operating on some form of pedestrian crossing. May I remind you that a pedestrian crossing has far more “power” to stop traffic than a patroller, often putting their lives at risk, stepping into the road to stop the traffic. All drivers are used to stopping when someone steps onto the crossing as they encounter them all over the Borough and all over the country. Unlike a patroller where there are only 15 of them initially across the whole Borough so a driver may never, ever, have encountered one.
They are also available 24 hours a day and not just around school times so the overall safety of crossing that road is improved significantly. So, all residents benefit not just the parents and children.
Importantly this change has been successfully implemented in phase 1 with no recorded increase in safety issues.
In 2015 this Council made a decision to remove all patrollers but only where there was a viable safe mechanism of crossing the road for parents and children. This requirement was a key reason for the delay you mentioned. That work has now been completed and each of the locations where the remaining seven patrollers operate are planned to have pedestrian crossings of some form before the start of the new academic year, in September. As with phase 1, when they have been installed the patrollers will then be phased out.
I am afraid I rather disagree with your statement. No way can an automated crossing anticipate how children are going to behave and how cars are going to behave. It just is impossible.
When are the parents going to see the results of the consultation and will they be involved in it?
As I said already the consultation is currently being put together and that will be made public probably in the next couple of weeks, something like that. But may I remind you that the decision has already been taken to take the action so the people who have commented will clearly be interested but there are no grounds for changing our action.