People power has prompted a council U-turn – and saved winter gritting services on more than 140 Sheffield roads.
More than 1,000 city residents responded to a council consultation on cuts to the service, originally intended to reduce the number of precautionary gritting routes from 720 miles to 610. A further 1,500 opponents signed a petition. Now Sheffield Council has revised its plans, reinstating roads on school bus routes and those classed as ‘western access’ for traffic heading to Manchester Road.
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Roads reprieved include Hagg Hill in Crosspool, Hangingwater Road in Nether Green, Kent Road in Meersbrook, Mortimer Road in Bradfield, and Stafford Road at Norfolk Park.
Steep streets with a gradient of 10 per cent or more have also been put back into the gritting routes. It had been intended only roads that carried more than 3,000 cars a day, and with a gradient of over 20 per cent, would be included.
A total of 141 roads have been replaced on gritting routes.
Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for streetscene, said: “We are making real changes to the original proposals, based on the responses we received.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the changes represented a partial ‘U-turn’ by the Labour council.
“Sheffield’s Labour councillors claimed they had no choice but to stop gritting these roads, but we knew all along that wasn’t true,” said Mr Clegg. “I’m pleased at least some residents have gained a reprieve.”
As originally planned, top priority roads – which cover main arterial links and the busiest routes across the city – and snow clearance work will not be affected.
The amended proposals are expected to be given the go-ahead by the council’s Highways Cabinet Committee next Friday, August 29.
But the changes still mean many roads will go without precautionary treatment as the council looks to save £100,000 from its budget.
And 14 extra roads have been selected additionally to lose precautionary gritting. They include Meersbrook Park Road, Verdon Street in Pitsmoor, Twentywell Road at Bradway and Raisen Hall Road in Longley.
Around 59 per cent of Sheffield’s road network is currently gritted as a precaution. In future 51 per cent of roads will be served – one per cent up on the originally proposed 50 per cent.
A report said the number of people affected by the removal of precautionary gritting routes is ‘low’.
But it added: “Some may need to change their routes to travel on gritted roads.”
Coun Scott said: “We received some very detailed responses from the public to our consultation. We have made every effort to listen.
“If these recommendations are accepted, Sheffield would still provide the highest level of winter maintenance service of local authorities across the country – including areas with a similar topography to Sheffield.”
Major bus routes and roads with a main entrance to a school, doctor’s surgery or other public facility will retain their services.
But changes will be made to the number of grit bins, and no new snow wardens will be recruited for future years.
Roads being saved:
Bent Hills Lane
Brown House Lane
Carr House Lane
Carsick Hill Road
Cherry Tree Road
Heeley Bank Road
Hoar Stones Road
Ivy Park Road
Kenwood Park Road
Kirk Edge Road
Lee Moor Lane
Mill Lee Road
More Hall Lane
New Mill Bank
Peat Pitts Lane
Raynor Syke Lane
School Green Lane
Skew Hill Lane
St Andrew’s Road
St Quentin Drive
Stumperlow Crescent Road
Sunny Bank Road
Thompson House Green
Thorn House Lane
Yew Trees Lane
Additional roads to lose services:
Birley Moor Drive
Meersbrook Park Road
Park Grange Mount
Park Grange View
Raisen Hall Road