HOWWOOD parents have claimed victory after staging a protest against Renfrewshire Council’s plans to reallocate school crossing patrol staff.

Local councillors Andy Doig and Bill Binks joined protesters in Bowfield Road on Friday after learning of the council’s intention to remove the village’s crossing patrollers.

And within hours, council chiefs confirmed that the lollipop men and women would remain at their current posts near Howwood Primary.

Councillor Bill Binks, who represents Johnstone North, Kilbarchan, Howwood and Lochwinnoch, said he hoped that the council would continue listening to parents’ concerns about busy roads.

He told The Gazette: “It appears the council have not immediately taken the crossing patrol staff away, but it’s still not definite that they’re going to keep them there.

“I’m pleased that the council have not reallocated them, but I hope this will be a permanent arrangement, because there are a lot of kids and parents that use these busy roads.

“We have a strong argument for keeping the crossing patrollers here, because one of the biggest problems is the high amount of traffic that comes through Howwood if there’s any delays on the A737. We’re also one of the few villages in Renfrewshire that doesn’t have a pedestrian crossing.”

The Gazette: Councillors Andy Doig and Bill Binks joined protesters in Bowfield Road on FridayCouncillors Andy Doig and Bill Binks joined protesters in Bowfield Road on Friday

More than 500 parents signed a petition about the issue last week, as they raised concerns about their children’s lives being put at risk.

The petition stated: “This decision was taken without prior consultation or engagement with the school or parent council and will come into effect from Monday 7th September, effectively giving parents one school day’s notice.

“The junction at Beith Road and Main Street has been the location of traffic accidents in the past and has no traffic calming or assisted crossing measures. This decision has raised safety concerns for parents already worried about the ongoing COVID-19 situation and schooling. 

“The concerns regarding the danger of unsupervised or supported crossing of main traffic routes are obvious.”

A spokesperson for Renfrewshire Council said: “The absence of our school crossing patrol service at some locations in Renfrewshire is due to a temporary staff shortage, as we support staff back to work as part of our COVID-19 risk assessment process.

“No decision has been taken to remove the school crossing patroller from Howwood Primary. Any future decision to make a change to the service would be subject to full consultation with the school community.”

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