BREAKING: Sheffield Council confirms full U-turn on gritting cuts

A gritter crashed and on its side on Douse Croft Lane in the Mayfield Valley, Sheffield

A gritter crashed and on its side on Douse Croft Lane in the Mayfield Valley, Sheffield

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Sheffield Council has announced a full U-turn on its controversial gritting cuts - after last weekend saw dozens of drivers smash on icy roads.

Residents had warned that ‘someone would die’ after cars skidded on black ice, through walls and had to be abandoned.

Even a gritter sent out to the Mayfield Valley, one of the rural areas that was worst affected, overturned.

Now the council says it has ‘listened’ to the public and will revert to its previous gritting plans after carrying out a review.

The number of priority two roads gritted as a precaution were reduced by nearly 100 miles to save £100,000 earlier this year.

It is not yet clear where the saving will now be made.

The council’s statement said the changes mean that all the roads that were taken out to achieve savings will be reinstated. These include Mortimer Road and Woodhead Road as well as a number of routes in the Mayfield Valley.

Coun Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for environment, recycling and Streetscene, said: “The safety of Sheffield residents and the general public is of utmost importance. I have listened very carefully to concerns raised over the past week and asked for a review of the service. I have decided to reinstate the old gritting routes.

“We are working very closely with the Streets Ahead team to ensure that these changes happen in the Western areas of the city by Christmas Eve, which is when the next cold snap is predicted. Changes across the rest of the city will be implemented as soon as practically possible.

“At the end of winter we will review the service again to ensure that we have got it right and that the service is as efficient as possible. We will also review the location and number of grit bins. We still urge drivers to drive to the conditions.”

Matt Dixon, Chair of Bradfield Parish Council, said: “I would like to thank everyone who got involved in the campaign to have the gritting routes re-instated.

“We were aware that Sheffield Council had to make dramatic savings to their budget.

“I am relieved and grateful that Sheffield City Council has revisited the issue after the information we gave them. I would like to thank the leader of the council, Julie Dore, for personally taking up the issue this week. All we wanted was the roads gritted again, this has now happened.”

Full details of the new gritting routes will be available at www.sheffield.gov.uk/winter early in the New Year.

See tomorrow’s Star for more on this story.