Last week we reported how my Birkdale Ward colleague Simon Shaw was due to lead a team of councillors to meet with senior Council officers to discuss widespread concerns over gritting and the clearance of snow. This is the link: Councillors to meet with Highways officers over gritting mayhem
The meeting took place, as planned, last Wednesday, the first day back at work after the Christmas bank holiday break. Simon and six other councillor colleagues from across
Southport and Maghull travelled to Bootle and were able to have a frank exchange of views with three senior Council officers.
The team of councillors was on a cross-party basis, including both Lib Dems and Conservatives. They left officers in no doubt about the very high level of public dissatisfaction with the conditions on the roads and pavements in
Southport, Formby and Maghull for the 10 days or so from Saturday 18 December.
“There were many issues which we covered, and I know that other questions will be raised in the next few weeks,” reports Simon. “Following the meeting I have been busy preparing a report which summarises our key thoughts as to where things went wrong, and how the Council could do better in the future.”
Some of the topics planned to be covered in Simon’s draft report include:
- Councillors felt the Council failed to act as it should have done, and as the public and local businesses have a right to expect, in terms of the response to priority pavement locations (e.g.
Chapel Streetand Lord Street, Southport).
- The Council should examine the pros and cons of much more extensive snow ploughing on some or all of the gritting routes within residential areas, especially in the first 24 hours after very heavy snowfall. It is accepted that there are major difficulties with snow ploughing in residential areas.
- There could have been more snow ploughing in the minority of local roads which are not residential (i.e. where the ploughed snow would not obstruct residents’ driveways). In
Southportthis includes roads such as:
- Esplanade/Victoria Way (roads near Dunes)
- Marine Parade and Bridge
- Seaward end of
Hesketh Roadand of Marshside Road
- Most bridges (as the presence of embankments means that are very few houses fronting onto a bridge)
- The Council needs to improve its Emergency Incident procedures. This is particularly the case where very severe weather conditions occur (as happened with the heavy snowfall a week before Christmas) at the start of a weekend.
- It was noted that there are 3 demountable snow ploughs attachments for 8 gritters, and it is suggested that the Council should urgently consider purchasing (at least) 2 more.