THE Echo and Colchester Gazette have launched a joint campaign to save lollipop men and women. 

Lollipop men and women could be removed from outside Essex schools by the summer as part of money-saving plans.

Essex County Council has said its crossing patrol staff at 55 schools could be scrapped.

County Hall has started talking to schools about whether they want to lose the patrol service. The cash-strapped council could ask schools to fund the service themselves.

It insists no decisions have been made yet, but, depending on the outcome of consultations, patrols could be gone by this summer.

Rodney Bass, the councillor responsible for transport, said: “Due to the current economic climate and the pressure on local authority budgets, we are reviewing the delivery of many aspects of public service.”

Andy Howe, the executive headteacher at Rochford Primary School, and Holt Farm Junior School, both in Ashingdon Road, slammed County Hall. He said: “This is a cost cutting exercise which will put lives at risk. The County's view is that the schools could pay from their own budgets if they think it is important enough. .

“At Rochford Primary School and Holt Farm Junior School, on the busiest B road in the county so I would consider this to be an incredibly dangerou and unfair change of road safety practice.

“If we’re paying asked to pay about £5,800 to fund patrols, then that is unfair. Our limited resources need to be diverted into improving standards, and County Hall is quick to point out when we don’t do that.”

Parents at St Peters Catholic School in Billericay have launched a campaign to save their lollipop man Tom after ECC announced budget cuts.

Mum Khushreen Patankar, 40, who lives near one of the crossings under threat in St John’s Road, Colchester, said: “It is despicable. If the patrol goes someone will get knocked over and killed.”

At threat is a crossing at Bromley Road, Colchester, which is near Hazelmere Infant and Junior schools and is used by pupils from several other nearby schools.

Infant headteacher Steven Turnbull said he had already set his budget for the next school year, which he insisted should be spent on education, not road safety.

He said: “I am shocked at the timing.

“It does not feel like a consultation, it feels like something has been decided and we are expected to find the money.

“I am inclined to think our responsibility should not be maintaining the highways.

“Our budget is quite specifically for raising standards for children and to keep them safe in our school environment, where will it end?”

Parents can have their say by visiting

Sign a petition against the plans here