A LOLLIPOP man of 15 years has slammed a 'disgraceful' decision by the council to remove crossing patrol services throughout the borough.

Wokingham Borough Council decided to pull the service from eight sites following a seven-week consultation, despite hundreds of online complaints.

John Pink, who has worked at Earley St Peter's crossing for 15 years, said: "I would maybe understand more if it was a national decision, but why just the eight of us?"

"I think it's disgraceful, the roads are getting busier and we are needed more than ever now. It's putting children in danger for the sake of saving some money".

"I don't think anyone has assessed how bad it has got round here. I do understand cuts need to be made, but this isn't the place to start, the children are at risk".

"I think they are going to re-paint the crossing, but they've been promising to do that for a very long time.

Earley St Peter's, Highwood, Beechwood and Whiteknights Primary School will all lose the lollipop service at the end of the academic year in July.

Hester Wooler, head teacher of St Peter's, told The Chronicle how she feared more than 500 children at her school, some as young as three, will be in danger because of the decision.

She explained: "Our view on this is very strong. It is a very dangerous stretch of road and has some of the highest volumes of traffic in Reading and Wokingham.

"Even with a crossing patrol person it is still dangerous. We have seen so many near misses over the last few years.

"We are very concerned for the safety of our children. Parents are very concerned and we would urge whoever is making this decision to reconsider."

Alex Dean, interim head of highways and transport for WBC said all eight sites had been properly assessed as part of the consultation and provide a safe point of crossing for children.

He added: “The council understands lollipop men and women are sometimes very popular, but the reality is that they provide the same function as a dedicated crossing, which themselves make it safer for people to cross the road.

“The consultation has not highlighted anything to contradict this, but it has raised some specific issues unrelated to crossing patrols at some sites that we can look into before implementing the changes.”