Coatham Road school crossing patrol removed

Since October, Coatham Road has lost its lollipop person. Coatham primary school spills out next to it. There was no warning, no contact to the school, parents, residents or councillors. The Independent/Lib Dem administration simple took our patrol away one day. The first I knew was when I started receiving complaints to my email address a week later.

My initial reply:

“…Thank you for making me aware of this. I don’t know where this decision has come from. Coatham Road is and has been for a long time a dangerous road with erratic drivers, narrow stretches, and pavement parking impeding pedestrians and disability scooters from progress.

“Pre-pandemic I sent out Safer Streets packs to all residents on this stretch but it didn’t return the interest I had hoped. I have had highways looking at measures to reduce speed. I have suggested making it one way and increasing the kerb space so it helps pedestrians and parking and safety.

“I shall keep on with this and move your complaint forward to add to the pressure to bring back the lollipop person.”

This is a dangerous road because it is tapered into narrow parts, it has parked cars which push people onto the road, it has drivers speeding up and down it unabated, with monitoring having recorded speeds of 70-80mph and is one of the main routes in and out of Redcar High Street.

Any attempt to do anything to slow down traffic coming in or going out or to look into a future one way system have been ignored. It’s time Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council did something about it but first things first, give us our lollipop back!

I contacted the Leader of the Council, Mary Lanigan, who was copied into complaints. She replied, she would see what she could do.

Dear Mary,

Please can Coatham Road have the lollipop person put back in situ. This is a dangerous road which I have tried to have resolved with safety measures to reduce the speed to no avail.”

Pavement parking makes this narrow road even more dangerous as it pushes people and disability scooters onto the road. Please help this has been going on for years now without service.

I further asked the Cabinet Member to restore it back to how it was.

The Cabinet member, overseeing this portfolio, Councillor Alison Barnes, said back in November,

“The current situation is that we had to take the decision to move the School Crossing Person … We have relocated … temporarily …

“The Mersey Road site is busy with several coaches arriving, plus lots of children on foot for both schools and vehicles passing. The need is greater there as is evidenced by the monitoring visits we have carried out on several occasions, and the patrol person herself has confirmed this to our staff.

“We considered all options and the switch from Coatham Road to Mersey Road is the best fit. Coatham is less busy, less traffic, one school and a pinch point (where the pavement is extended into the road) to assist crossing at the top end of the road.

“To further complicate the issue, we are several crossing personnel short and we are having difficulties recruiting. It is really difficult to juggle the resources we have and we do our best to cover the busier locations if we are able to move staff, but it is at the detriment of other sites.

“I am sorry that I am not able to give you a more positive reply, but I can assure you we will continue to review the situation.”

A few days later the Cabinet member also added,

“However, we will keep the matter under review … arranged for officers to go out and observe what is happening at both sites. Depending on their feedback, there may be a case for going back to the original arrangement and restoring the crossing patrol on Coatham Road.”

There continues to be complaints and serious concerns from parents and the school to reiterate the danger of not having a patrol on here. There has been no update on a “review” or any sighting of recruitment posts. As the situation remains as of today 12/01/2023 I have requested this under the Freedom of Information Act and will report back here.

Below are some example extracts of these complaints:

“I emailed the council a few weeks back when the school didn’t have the lollipop lady and I got a response back saying it’s the parents responsibility to cross the road safely, which I don’t think was a very satisfactory answer.”

“We have been told today that the lollipop lady won’t be at the school until next calendar year which isn’t acceptable.”

“I am a parent at coatham primary school which both my children attended. The lollipop lady has been removed a few weeks ago, we had a near miss incident with my son this morning this isn’t the first time it has happened there has been other parents that have also near misses and have concerns. I would appreciate if someone could reconsider the decision of the removal of the lollipop lady as this seems to be a health and safety issue where children are concerned.”

“Today at school collection at 3.15pm when i was collecting my 2 young children from coatham primary school, i seen a young year6 child on his bike go straight over coatham road without no parent and without looking and straight infront a oncoming van, the guy had to slam on his breaks and sound his horn to the child on his bike. There was also one of three parking wardens stood on the corner at this present time to.”

“Regarding the school crossing us as parents want to make sure our children are safe when walking to school.

Us as parents along with Coatham Primary School teach our children road safety and by doing that we tell them to cross at the Lollipop Lady, how can we do this when we haven’t got one.

Coatham Road is so busy during school times morning and afternoon and it’s rather concerning that we havent got a lollipop Lady to help our children cross the road safely. Us parents can only do so much bit it’s in our interests that having a lollipop Lady there will help children to understand to stop and cross.

“The speed of cars coming down Coatham Road is ridiculous and without a lollipop Lady its very concerning that a child may be hit by a car with how busy it is.

“The school can only do so much but with support off the council in finding Coatham Primary School a Lollipop Lady will mean alot to all of us knowing our children are safe and the children who walk to school by themselves will also be safe.”

“I feel utterly appalled by the council choice to remove the crossing patrol from Coatham school and move her to cover loss at other schools. Why do our school children have to lose out on their safety?

“Coatham school is an island and cannot be reached without having to cross a road. Coatham Road is a extremely busy road in and out of Redcar, it is also a street parking road with full road of cars. It is unsafe for adults and children to cross without a patrol.

“Your decision needs to be readdressed.”

“It is putting our children’s safety at risk and is also taking away some of our children’s independence as a lot walk to school themselves which they probably can’t now as relied on the crossing patrol to make sure they crossed the road to school safely.

“I really hope this is reinstated sooner rather than later as battling for it is something the school could do without and quite frankly shouldn’t have to do”

“I think it’s a terrible decision by the council every school should have a road side lollypop personnel…

“I believe it’s an accident waiting to happen due the how busy coatham road is, it’s in the best interests of the school and children to get this reinstated as soon as possible”

“Please accept this response in support of the request for RCBC to reinstate the crossing at Coatham school. I am concerned for the welfare of children attending the school who make there own way due to the traffic and parking issues on this road. The road is on a bus route and cars regularly park on double yellow lines on coatham road, it makes it exceptionally difficult for children and parents to cross the road safely. Traffic is exceptionally busy around the school start and finish times and I do not feel any traffic consultation/monitoring was conducted when RCBC have made the decision to reallocate the crossing patrol. I feel that this type of funding cut/resource reallocation puts people at risk of harm and I am aware of concerns raised by local councillors in relation to this matter, by reallocating the patrol the council sends out a message that children in one school are more important than another, when in fact its from poor resource management and recruitment that this situation has arisen.”

“As a parent of a child at Coatham CofE school in Redcar, I am extremely concerned & disappointed to be informed that the school crossing patrol at the junction of Coatham Road & Hamilton Grove has been suspended.

As you are fully aware (that’s why you put a crossing patrol there in the first place), Coatham Road is an extremely busy road with constant heavy traffic including buses & lorries, as well as a significant increase in traffic at the start & end of the school day. Many of the schools children & parents have no other option but to cross Coatham Road several times daily to get too & from school. Without a crossing patrol this will now be a very unsafe & dangerous undertaking!

“Your own website states: “The authority is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children/young people and vulnerable adults & that the role of a School Crossing Patrol is to assist in the provision of a safe road crossing service throughout the Redcar & Cleveland area.”

I strongly believe that by removing this “safe road crossing service” in this very dangerous spot it will leave primary school aged children (3-11) & their parents at serious risk of harm, even death, showing you are not really as “committed to safeguarding & promoting the welfare of young children & vulnerable adults” as you profess to be!”

“I am greatly disappointed about the school crossing being removed.

“Coatham road is an extremely busy road at most times of the day. That increases dramatically at school start and finish times.

I have a toddler that I have to cross that road with to drop my other child off and its frightening some days trying to get across without assistance.

Only yesterday I witnessed somebody trying to cross with a pram and a car was very close to knocking the pram over. The cars are parked up along the road and you cannot see the oncoming traffic.

Someone is going to end hurt or worst if the lollipop lady is not reinstated immediately.”

“Regarding the School Crossing if we can’t get a lollipop Lady is there a chance that where the lollipop Lady stands could it be changed into a Zebra Crossing its concerning that some children have been so close to be hit by a car.

“I did speak to Mr Maudlsey about this and he was going to put this forward to the council and I think to the MP also.

“Coatham Primary School have always had a lollipop lady or man and this time of year more people are on the roads and a lot of them are inconsiderate drivers who do not wait for kids to cross, can be stood for over 10mins to cross and just general drivers speeding and not giving the school a thought.

I am writing in hopes to restore the lollipop lady. I have two sons who attends Coatham school. Coatham Road is extremely busy during drop off and pick up times and a few times my boys have stepped out onto the road and I’ve had to shout them back. I have seen a few children running over the road without even looking. It is extremely scary to think what could happen if our lollipop lady is not returned. Some cars stop one way to let you cross, but then a car will fly down the other way. When you have multiple children and not enough hands it is becoming very distressing. Parents of older children rely on the lollipop lady as I know alot of parents only let their children walk to school on the basis that she is there to help them cross the busy road. Please have her returned.”

( * I have redacted any information I have deemed might be sensitive … )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s