Labour councillors pledge funding to keep lollipop lady outside Newark Hill Academy in Peterborough

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A group of Labour councillors say they’ll cover the service with funds allocated to them to spend on local community projects

Labour councillors have pledged funding to keep a lollipop lady in place outside a primary school in Peterborough.

Dogsthorpe councillors Dennis Jones and Katy Cole say they’ll help temporarily cover the cost of the service outside Newark Hill Academy with community leadership money.

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This is a £3,000 per year allowance given to all Peterborough councillors to spend on projects and activities that benefit their local area.

Newark Hill Academy in DogsthorpeNewark Hill Academy in Dogsthorpe
Newark Hill Academy in Dogsthorpe

The pledge comes after Peterborough City Council (PCC) said it would review its spending on the school crossing services it pays for at five schools, including Newark Hill, which could result in them being cut and replaced by volunteers.

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Group leader Cllr Jones says that Labour has been given the go ahead by the council to use their community leadership funds to pay for lollipop lady patrols on Eastfield Road for at least a year.

It’s a “Labour group initiative” to “secure their future”, Cllr Jones says, and will involve funds being put forward from several members of their group.

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PCC leader Cllr Mohammed Farooq (Peterborough First, Hargate and Hempsted) said that he’ll look for longer term funding to keep the lollipop lady in place.

“What I will be doing, come next year, is looking for a permanent solution on that road,” he said.

“It does require a permanent crossing, so I’ll be looking at a number of options in the capital budget for that including section 106 money.”

S106 money is paid by developers towards community infrastructure projects.

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“The road is very busy,” Cllr Farooq added, “and I’m very familiar with it because my daughter is deputy head at the school”.

Whether or not he is leader of the council after May, when work on next year’s budget will begin, will come down to the local elections.

But for now, there’ll be no interruption to the service while future plans are considered, Cllr Farooq said.

Cllr Cole, a teacher at Dogsthorpe Academy, spearheaded the initiative alongside Cllr Jones after setting up a petition calling on the council to save the service.

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“The loss of these patrols would significantly increase risks for those crossing Eastfield Road – one of Peterborough's busiest roads – especially during peak times when children are going to or coming from school,” her petition reads.

“We urge local authorities not only to maintain but also enhance support for this essential service that safeguards our children's lives every day.”

Councillors say the initiative won’t affect PCC’s budget – which includes the review of school crossing services – as community leadership funds are already factored into it.

The budget is next due to be discussed at a cabinet meeting today (Monday, 12th February).

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