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Questions over gritting pavements in cold snap

PUBLISHED: 12:29 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:35 07 July 2010

Council chiefs are facing mounting pressure to hold an urgent review into the gritting of pavements on Norfolk after the recent cold snap sparked complaints that too many were left in a treacherous state.

Council chiefs are facing mounting pressure to hold an urgent review into the gritting of pavements on Norfolk after the recent cold snap sparked complaints that too many were left in a treacherous state.

As the recent snows gave way to icy conditions fears were raised about the focus on clearing the roads, while many pavements were untouched.

Last week saw a flurry of hospital admissions following people falling over in the icy conditions.

And with temperatures set to plummet again in the New Year, opposition Lib Dem councillors at Norfolk County Council want the administration to look again at how roads and paths were kept ice free.

The county council's website says that it does not normally treat cycle ways of pavements, though it adds it will treat footways on a priority basis after prolonged periods of snow or ice

The council said it had tried to do minor and estate roads during the cold snap as well as footpaths, though the sheer numbers to cover meant it was difficult to do them all. In Norwich, responsibility for gritting rests with the city council.

But Tim East, Lib Dem spokesman for planning and transportation, is trying to get the issue raised as an urgent item at the next week's planning and transportation review panel meeting.

“The snowy pre-Christmas period has been a truly testing time for the disabled, frail, vulnerable and elderly people in the county,” he said. “Most have been trapped indoors in the absence of any gritting on pavements and side streets, particularly in the market towns.

“Regrettably the strategically located grit bins were not replenished with grit once they had been emptied. When the county council doesn't frequently top them up in severe weather conditions, empty grit bins are useless for treating side streets and pavements.

“Even though the major roads were cleared, the problem lay in getting to them from the side streets which were not gritted. Some pedestrians even resorted to walking in the road because pavements were so treacherous to walk on”.

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