Hampstead school run: Private school ‘blocked from hiring a lollipop person’
Conservative councillor asks why traffic measure suggested by St Margaret's was dismissed
07 September, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
THE Town Hall has been accused of blocking a plan to introduce a lollipop person outside a school in an area beset with early morning traffic issues.
Conservative councillor Siobhan Baillie will use Monday’s full council meeting to demand answers from council chiefs about why a private school has been barred from appointing a traffic safety officer on patrol outside its school in Hampstead. It is the latest row in the ongoing saga of how school-run traffic should be managed in the area, and was ignited as parents began to descend on the cluster of schools around Fitzjohn’s Avenue for the new academic year this week.
Cllr Baillie, who represents the Frognal ward, said she had been told that St Margaret’s School in Ferncroft Gardens had asked for a series of traffic-calming measures such as a zebra crossing, but neighbours did not want anything permanent installed in the street. Instead, residents suggested the school pay for a lollipop person to help with traffic – but according to Cllr Baillie, the Town Hall then told the school this would not be appropriate.
She said: “It seems they have a policy that because they can’t offer lollipop people at state schools, they won’t let private schools pay to have them. I would like to see the Town Hall look at school transport plans and make sure they are being properly enforced.” Cllr Baillie has called for a two-pronged approach to managing the roads in Hampstead – which have long had an unenviable reputation for jams at the start and end of the school day – with private schools being allowed to employ traffic managers and for the Town Hall to be more active in enforcement.
The New Journal contacted the Town Hall for a comment but was told it would only respond in full once Cllr Baillie had made her official enquiry at Monday’s all-member meeting.
However, a spokesman added: “If schools want to pay for school crossing patrols themselves, our policy is flexible and allows us to consider such requests. We also take into account national road safety guidelines and whether the road conditions in that location are safe enough for a crossing patrol.”