PLANS to install a dropped kerb at a spot previously patrolled by a lollipop man have drawn the ire of Swindon parish councillors.

Swindon Borough Council wants to build a new “unofficial” crossing in Eascott Road, between the junctions with King William Street and Bath Road.

The crossing, which would comprise a dropped kerb and traffic island and would narrow the road, would help children at the nearby King William Street Primary cross the road with their parents.

But the plans are unpopular with South Swindon Parish Council’s planning committee.

Councillors heard that, while the new construction would be designed to look like a formal “pedestrian-friendly” crossing there was no requirement for cars to stop.

Trish Philpot, chairman of the committee, said the crossing plans made her feel uneasy.

Sam James, a newly-elected parish councillor for Eastcott, said: “You can just about get away with it in a town centre context.

“You do not want any ambiguity when you’re talking about children crossing the road to the school.” Marina Strinkovsky, a fellow Eastcott councillor, added: “I don’t find them safe.”

Last year, more than 1,000 people signed a petition calling on Swindon Borough Council to reverse its decision not to replace retiring Eastcott lollipop man John Walters.

King William Street School headteacher Margaret Clarke warned it would only be a matter of time before a child was hurt.

The borough, which has a policy against replacing crossing guards as the posts fall vacant, said Eastcott Road was not dangerous enough to warrant splashing £3,290 on a new member of staff.

At the time, then cabinet member for children’s services Fionuala Foley said: “We do not consider Eastcott Road to be dangerous.

“We are installing signs and road markings to make drivers aware that people will be crossing, but there is simply no reason to believe that a dedicated patrol is necessary.”

A year on, parish councillor and petition organiser Patrick Herring questioned the borough’s position: “When the borough council axed the crossing patrol they claimed the road was completely safe to cross, even though everyone locally knows how dangerous this spot can be.

“It’s good to see that they now acknowledge that it isn’t good enough and I’m glad something’s being put in place, but it’s still a long way from a proper crossing. I’m not sure how much this is really going to help.”

In response, a borough council spokesman said a recent safety review found the site did not meet the requirements for a more formal crossing, like a pelican or zebra crossing.

He added: “These proposals are intended to provide additional safety measures for parents and pupils coming to and from school. They are also intended to be used by all members of the public and have been designed to help vulnerable people to cross the road safely.

"They will be monitored regularly by the Council to ensure they remain safe and further safety measures could be implemented if necessary.”