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Wokingham Tories cut 'Safer Routes to School' budget, despite Election promises to spend more

July 16, 2003 12:00 AM

Wokingham Liberal Democrats are appalled at revelations that the Tories have cut the "Safer Routes to Schools" budget, despite election promises to extend the scheme. At the Wokingham District Council Highways Board meeting last night, the Tories voted to cut the budget by £74,000.

Councillor Jenny Lissaman (Lib Dem Councillor for Whitegates ward) said, "The Tories have slashed the budget, and will now spread too little money too thinly across the whole District. The result is that the Safer Routes to Schools plans awaiting implementation have been pared to the bone, with many schools losing most of the agreed safety measures.

"It remains to be seen whether this disgraceful cut is due to the total lack of experience of the Tory members of the Highways Board or Tory underfunding of the budget. It is especially unfortunate that both the Tory Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Highways Board (Councillors Bob Haacke and David Chopping) pledged in their election campaigns to support and build on the Safer Routes to Schools schemes."

Councillor Dee Tomlin (Lib Dem Councillor for Twyford and Ruscombe ward) was furious when it was announced that Wargrave Piggott School would be losing the Toucan crossings planned for the A4, near New Rd junction, and the A321, north of the A4. She said, "This just goes to show that the Tories don't take the safety of our schoolchildren seriously. I hope they are deeply ashamed of their election pledge U-turn. They are happy to propose spending money on a new logo for the Council while they risk the safety of our children by cutting this budget. Frank Browne (Tory Leader of the Council) said that he would resign if anything went wrong with his budget. Well, with less than 3 months gone, it's all going horribly wrong."

WHITEKNIGHTS PRIMARY SCHOOL, SHINFIELD

Original scheme: £25,300

Revised scheme: £7,650

Cut: £17,650

Cuts include a Puffin Crossing on Elm Road

WINNERSH PRIMARY SCHOOL, WINNERSH

Original scheme: £65,650

Revised scheme: £5,650

Cut: £60,000

Cuts include a 20 mph zone with traffic calming and a Puffin Crossing

HIGHWOOD INFANTS AND JUNIORS

Original scheme: £78,250

Revised scheme: £13,650

Cut: £64,600

Cuts include a Toucan Crossing, a 20 mph zone and a parking lay-by