Balfron crossing patrol staff set to be axed in council budget cuts

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Crossing patrol staff in Balfron are among those expected to be phased out.

Plans are said to be underway to introduce road safety measures in the village to prepare the area for the eventual loss of the patrollers.

Balfron Community Council has told locals: “Due to Stirling Council budget cuts, the school crossing patrol staff across Stirling are to be removed.

“Road infrastructure of a zebra crossing at Roman Road and a zebra crossing on the road entering the school campus is to be installed in July.”

Local stakeholders including Balfron Primary’s headteacher, Balfron Primary Parent Council, the community police officer, Active Travel Officer based in Balfron High School and Balfron Community Council were said to be meeting to explore any issues and come up with ideas to improve pupil safety.

A Stirling Council spokesperson said this week: “As part of Stirling Council’s 2023/24 budget process, a decision was taken to remove school crossing patrollers and replace them with formal pedestrian crossings.

“We have engaged with affected staff on this to ensure they are aware of the transitional plan.

“They remain in post with no changes at this time.

“A consultation process on the proposed location of formal crossings at a number of locations, including Balfron is due to take place imminently.”

In May 2023 the council’s Labour administration denied claims that up to 20 lollipop patrollers faced redundancy.

They said instead the posts - to be cut as part of cost cutting plans - would be lost by “not filling vacancies as they arise”.

As part of budget cuts - presented by Labour and voted through with support from the Tories in 2023 - the phased removal of the lollipop patrols was agreed, with the move to be implemented once upgraded traffic controlled crossings were in place to replace them. It was also agreed that schools would be consulted.

At that time a Stirling Labour spokesperson said: “There will be no school crossing patrol compulsory redundancies...the transition will be managed by not filling vacancies as they arise and installing road safety measures which will help school pupils and the wider community at all times of the day.”

In July of the same year, SNP councillors pressed Stirling Council’s Labour administration for answers on just what was being done - and where - to safeguard children impacted by the phasing out of school crossing patrols, and for a timescale for providing alternative arrangements for replacing patrol officers.

At that time environment, transport and net zero convener, Labour’s Councillor Jen Preston, said they were being faced with “cutting the sorts of things we don’t want to cut” because of budget constraints handed down by the Scottish Government.

Councillor Jen Preston blamed Scottish Government funding cuts for the move
Councillor Jen Preston blamed Scottish Government funding cuts for the move -Credit:JIM MAILER, WHYLER PHOTOS

She added: “Facilities management and roads have worked to determine the priority for installing/adapting a traffic management system to allow the safe replacement of school crossing patrollers in each location.

“Several sites within Stirling already have traffic management systems in place, and these are being assessed, and plans put in place to enhance them as required.

“Recruitment of school crossing patrol staff is challenging, so some sites have not had staff in place consistently. However, where possible a school crossing patroller will remain on site for a short period of time to support the transition to safe use of the new traffic management system.”