Lack of grit leaves Sheffield residents ‘cut-off’

Anoushka Read
Anoushka Read

RURAL residents claim their roads are being left ungritted and in a dangerous condition by Sheffield Council contractor Amey after a contract with a farmer was cancelled.

For the last 30 years, routes around the Mayfield Valley, between Fulwood and Ecclesall, have been kept clear by Graham Dyson, of Fox Hagg Farm.

But contractor Amey has told him he is no longer needed to go out gritting - although he has been kept on to plough roads if there is heavy snow.

While Mr Dyson used to head out each time there was an alert of freezing conditions, farmers and residents say they have not seen an Amey gritter on many of the roads so far this winter.

And one time a gritter was spotted, on Soughley Lane, near Redmires, it had itself skidded off the road.

Residents say that as a result, roads are in ‘lethal’ condition - with vehicles unable to get through to farms and carers unable to reach elderly people.

Some drivers who have attempted the roads have abandoned their cars.

Anoushka Read, who runs Mill Lane Farm livery yard, off Mayfield Road, said: “There is constant water running off the fields onto the roads an, when it freezes, it’s lethal.

“I have telephoned Amey several times and told them that if the roads are not done, somebody is going to be killed or seriously injured.

“A car has come through one of our walls and the same has happened at three other people’s properties.

“People without 4x4s are cut off and when setting off to take my two children for school, I have seen three cars stuck on the roads, their drivers unable to make the gradients due to the slippery conditions.”

Rhiannon Owen, of Knowle Top Farm, said: “Graham has done the job for many years but we’ve been told Amey doesn’t want his services because they say his equipment doesn’t meet their standards - yet he has kept the roads clear every year and when Amey tried to treat the area, one of their gritters came off the road.

“The area is cut off unless you have a 4x4. Elderly people can’t see carers and delivery vehicles cannot get through. We have a large milk truck which needs to get to the farm to take the milk or it goes to waste.”

Liz Rhodes, of Green House Farm, said: “We’ve not seen a gritter at all.”

Mr Dyson said: “I’ve been doing the gritting for 30 years but Amey have just told me that I am not needed this year.”

A spokesmaon from the Streets Ahead contract said: “Since the start of the winter maintenance period on October 1, the roads listed in the Mayfield Valley area have been gritted on 27 separate occasions by the Streets Ahead team and this will continue.

“We are continuing to improve the winter maintenance service we offer via the introduction of new GPS technology as well as a system which records when and which parts of the network have been gritted.

“As part of the Streets Ahead contract, Amey inspected all the gritters that were used by farmers to see if they met our health and safety guidelines. Unfortunately Mr Dyson’s gritting equipment did not meet our health and safety standards and the gritting contract was ended. However, we continue to enlist Mr Dyson’s services for snow ploughing when needed in this area.

“The safety of the travelling public is a top priority, however we would still urge all travellers to be careful when travelling on the roads and to alter their driving to suit the road conditions.”