Safety fears prompt par­ents to step into road cross­ing pa­trols

The Oban Times - - News - AMANDA CRAW­FORD acraw­ford@oban­

CHIL­DREN cross­ing a busy main road are at in­creased risk when walk­ing to school, be­cause other roads have been pri­ori­tised while a cross­ing pa­troller is off sick.

Pupils walk­ing from the south of Lun­davra Road up to Up­per Ach­in­tore, fol­low­ing the changeover from Fort Wil­liam pri­mary school, have been with­out a lol­lipop lady for al­most two weeks.

In­stead, par­ents are walk­ing onto Lun­davra Road and stop­ping traf­fic them­selves to al­low groups of chil­dren to cross safely.

There are cur­rently two cross­ing pa­trollers out­side the school, one on Ross Place and one on Lochaber Road.

Ni­cola MacMil­lan is a par­ent who walks to school. She has not been af­fected by the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion, but is con­cerned for oth­ers.

Mrs MacMil­lan said: ‘I have one child at pri­mary school and I walk down from Lochaber Road. I heard some­one was off sick, but you’d think they’d put a po­lice of­fi­cer or war­den in place to keep the chil­dren safe. When the new school opens, it will af­fect me di­rectly. I don’t see why they should have two right out­side the school and none on the main road, it makes no sense to me. I have a friend who has been hav­ing to stop in the mid­dle of the road to let her kids cross.’

Pupils are set to move once more from the school, for­merly known as Up­per Ach­in­tore, into the new Lun­davra build­ing at the be­gin­ning of Oc­to­ber.

Two mums, who pre­ferred to re­main anony­mous, also said they were go­ing to con­tact the school. One said: ‘There are work vans and road works on this road. It is dan­ger­ous for the kids.’

The other lady said: ‘They are far too small to be cross­ing this road them­selves with­out help and re­gard for their safety.’

Nick Thom­son, head­teacher at Lun­davra pri­mary school, said: ‘I have had one par­ent come to com­plain about this is­sue. We have three con­trollers here and one is off on ab­sence. The two peo­ple we have po­si­tioned are in places that are most in need. We are look­ing at re­plac­ing the third per­son, but it can be dif­fi­cult to get some­one to do the hours nec­es­sary, morn­ing, lunchtime and af­ter school.

‘While it is un­for­tu­nate, we do have more chil­dren cross­ing at Lochaber Road. We have over 100, which is far more than those com­ing from Lun­davra.’

There are cur­rently 15 pupils cross­ing at Lun­davra Road ev­ery day, and Mr Thom­son did con­firm that there would be a mem­ber of staff in place on the open­ing of the new school.

A spokesper­son from High­land coun­cil said: ‘One of the school cross­ing pa­trollers is on sick leave, so un­til a re­lief mem­ber of staff can be se­cured, the head­teacher al­lo­cated the Lun­davra Road/Con­nochie Road cross­ing to a pa­troller and asked for a cen­sus which showed 15 pupils were us­ing this cross­ing.

‘As the other cross­ing has over 100 pupils, the head­teacher made a risk-based as­sess­ment and moved the pa­troller to the busy cross­ing. The head­teacher will be in con­tact with all par­ents who have chil­dren in the Grange Ter­race/ Road area to ad­vise that there will be no cross­ing pa­troller at present.’

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FEARS: lol­lipop lady ab­sence is putting lives at risk claim par­ents

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