Calderdale councillors call for urgent winter roads gritting policy U-turn

Councillors are urging a gritting policy rethink
Councillors are urging a gritting policy rethink

Frustrated councillors have put the new policy into scrutiny, saying they were not properly consulted on the detail of the changes and have appealed for the previous service to be resumed.

It will be a main item on the agenda of next Thursday’s Place Scrutiny Board at Halifax Town Hall.

They also believe councillors’ extensive local knowledge of their areas has not been taken into account given they were best placed to know where problems were likely to occur.

Councillor Andrew Tagg (Skircoat) spoke at full council in the days before the cold snap, expressing concern that councillors, although backing a policy change in principle, had not been consulted on the detail.

He was particularly concerned the topography of Calderdale appeared not to have been taken into account when it was decided which routes would be axed from the list.

“I said that I had serious concerns that there was no risk assssment of the topography in it. It should be included,” he said.

Coun Marilyn Greenwood (Greetland/Stainland) said incidents had already begun piling up, particularly in areas including Sowood and Norland. “Already we have had an accident with a car running into cottages, and a gentleman walking a dog fell in the road, injuring himself quite badly,” she said.

In Todmorden, town councillor Janet Battye and Robert Holden, Calderdale ward councillor for Ryburn who grew up in Todmorden, both said Long Drag, above Cross Stone Road, had been treacherous.

Councillor Holden said he had been told a bus service working for the council to drive children from outlying areas there to school had been unable to use the council’s own road on Tuesday morning.

Councillor Holden said: “These are rural roads and it is not safe. It has been a ‘desktop’ exercise. There will be a death before the next summer review.”

Calder Valley Conservative MP Craig Whittaker urged the council to reconsider its decision and councillors have also contacted Halifax Labour MP Holly Lynch.