County gets an icy blast for lack of grit

EAST Sussex County Council has been accused of a Scrooge-like attitude over the problem of keeping residential routes free of ice and snow.

While Hampshire County Council has just installed nearly 1300, 750-kilogramme salt-bins for community use during severe weather, with 600 more to follow, in East Sussex it is up to local people to buy extra bins and grit from the authority.

To help, it has distributed more than 40 one tonne “hippo” bags of gritting salt. But while Bexhill is among recipients, many people are still having to fend for themselves to clear estate roads and feeder routes.

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Cllr Charles Clark, an independent Rother district councillor for Bexhill St Michael’s Ward, said: “What do people pay their council taxes for?

“The county council has a statutory obligation to keep roads and footpaths clear, but it wants to charge people extra for helping themselves.

“In Pebsham, there have been several significant snowfalls and it has meant bus services being diverted, the Co-Op stores in Seabourne Road having difficulties in receiving deliveries and residents struggling to negotiate icy roads and pavements outside their homes.”

In Mount Idol View, Sidley, a bus slewed dangerously on ice and snow, forcing householders to clear its path.

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One resident, Sharon Sharp, said: “It’s a joke. We live on a main bus route but we don’t have the gritters round.

“It makes us wonder why we pay our council tax.”

A county council spokesman said: “We provide approximately 800 county-owned grit bins and also fill those bins owned by parish and town councils who have requested and paid for a refill.

“If a parish or town council is unwilling to provide salt bins, it is now possible for residents’ associations and other groups to buy them from us and we would urge anyone who would like to discuss this to contact our highways contact centre on 0345 60 80 193.