TWO councillors have called for a York road to be put back on the council’s priority gritting list following three recent accidents.
Almost 30 miles of road previously on the “primary” gritting list, where wet surfaces are treated in sub-zero temperatures, have been reclassified as “secondary” and will only be treated in severe weather, reducing the authority’s winter maintenance budget by £60,000.
Strensall councillors Paul Doughty and Sian Wiseman said recent accidents had seen two cars come off Haxby Moor Road and a cyclist suffer a “nasty” fall on a frosty morning. They feared there may be more during prolonged ice or snow.
Coun Doughty said he raised his concerns during a consultation on the gritting plans and, following the accidents, had reiterated these but had little reply from the council.
“It feels as if our concerns are falling on deaf ears, but it will not be for want of trying.”
Coun Wiseman claimed the council had taken “a casual attitude to residents’ safety”, and she understood previous plans to downgrade Haxby Moor Road’s gritting status had been dropped because of the risk involved.
She said: “I hope the council has another change of heart before an inquiry is needed into what may be a more tragic accident.” Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services, said there was mixed evidence that accidents on Haxby Moor Road were linked to icy surfaces, citing an email from police traffic management officers saying speeds on the route were sometimes inappropriate.
He said Coun Doughty had acknowledged that dangerous driving was a problem on the road.
“It is simply not possible to deal with the massive cuts made by the Government without any impact on frontline services, but what we have done for the first time since 1996 is review the criteria for salt bin placement and our grit network,” he said. “We consulted the public, who overwhelmingly chose the same criteria we did, and made changes based on their feedback. Safety is absolutely paramount and measures will always be put in place where gritting is required.”