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Norwich needs extra grit - call

PUBLISHED: 06:24 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:42 02 July 2010

Crash in the snow in Chalk Hill Road Norwich. Pic by Gareth Watts.

Crash in the snow in Chalk Hill Road Norwich. Pic by Gareth Watts.

Sarah Hall

The snow which wreaked havoc this winter has sparked calls for extra grit boxes to be placed around Norwich so people can more easily make pavements and roads safe.

The snow which wreaked havoc this winter has sparked calls for extra grit boxes to be placed around Norwich so people can more easily make pavements and roads safe.

Norwich City Council has called on the county council to provide cash for extra grit boxes in the city.

Councillors also called for an online database to be created so people can see the location of their nearest grit bin and for better publicity to make sure people realise they are allowed to use the grit to clear pavements.

Claire Stephenson, leader of the Green group at City Hall, said: “I know this motion is not quite as topical as when I first put it forward, but the chances are it will snow again next year!

“This year, snow caught a lot of people by surprise, but it is important that roads are gritted. But it is also important that pavements should not be neglected.

“The grit bins are fine, so long as you know where they are and that you can use them, but there was a lack of publicity about them.

“I have had people coming up to me saying they would offer to be grit wardens, but some people seemed unaware they were allowed to use the grit, thinking only council employees could.”

Brian Morrey, the city council's executive member for sustainable city development, replied that next year the council intended to include a list of the locations of grit bins on the council's website.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton, said the council needed to “learn lessons” from this year's problems and suggested different sized grit bins for different areas of the city.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said the motion would be considered once received by County Hall, but pointed out the primary responsibility for gritting roads in Norwich fell to the city council, not the county.

He added it was not merely a matter of providing extra bins, but of ensuring they were filled with grit - with limited resources stretched across the whole county.

It recently emerged that transport officials have launched an investigation because 12 Norwich roads re-surfaced last year are already in need of repair because of the icy weather.

Council taxpayers are facing a bill of between £1.5m and £2.25m to fix roads damaged by the winter weather which has led to pothole problems across Norfolk and “greater deterioration” in the state of the highways.

How well do you think the councils handled this winter's weather? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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