ST HELENS Council will axe funding for the school crossing patrol service from August 2018, councillors have decided.

The Star reported that a consultation on the service took place this summer, which was held with schools and wider community.

The council received a total of 780 responses, 496 online and 284 via hard copies.

The authority has operated a school crossing patrol at 39 designated school sites in the borough as a discretionary service.

However, a report outlined that "the council needs to make significant savings and make unprecedented changes to services in light of the substantial government funding reductions".

The authority says it requires the delivery of £20.6m of savings by 2020.

In a cabinet meeting this afternoon (Wednesday, October 25) councillors agreed to the decision to cease funding for the service.

The average age of current lollipop patrol staff is 63 years, with the majority being pensioners.

Appropriate consultation ill be carried out with those staff affected in accordance with the council’s employment policies.

Member for public health and wellbeing Cllr Gill Neal said: "I think this is so sad. This is where the cuts are finally hitting now.

"I think if you read through the consultation and comments that came back the majority were parents and guardians thinking the same thing, the impact of drivers and joy-riders. Let the message get out to drivers now to take more care on the road."

The council says it will continue to seek alternative sources of funding for the patrol service from schools which may be affected or from external sponsors. (Courtesy of St Helens Star.)

John F