Norwich gets ready for winter weather

Families around Norwich who asked for new grit bins to make this winter less stressful than the last are set to be disappointed - barely a sixth of new applications have been successful.

The city council usually gets about 10 requests a year for new grit bins, but after last year's extremely severe winter, 88 requests for new bins were lodged. However, city council bosses, who maintained 219 grit bins around Norwich last year have only given the go-ahead for 14 new bins.

Spokesman Amy Lyall said: 'We are unable to agree to all requests, due to funding constraints, so we prioritised roads where there was a clear risk of ice causing a significant hazard, such as a steep slope or bend, and no other grit bins close by.'

The 14 locations where bins have been, or will be installed are Boston Street, Crome Road - Rosary Road, Fountains Road, Hill House Road - Florence Road, Horn Pie Road, Hudson Way - Edrich Way, Lavengro Road, Mansfield Lane, Partridge Way, Rockingham Road - Wordsworth Road, St Peters Street, Vale Green, Violet Road and Woodhill Rise.

According to a report which will come before Norfolk County Council's Norwich area committee meeting on Thursday, lessons have been learned from last year's icy blast.

When salt supplies ran low last year the grit bins were filled with sand, which did not work effectively, so a mixture of salt and sand due is due to be used in the grit bins this time around. The report states: 'During the salt shortage last season, the grit bins around Norwich were refilled with sand. Sand assists with providing some grip on ice and helps break up the ice when worked in by vehicular traffic.

'However, the sand does not thaw the ice and was ineffective during the severe freezing temperatures of February this year.

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'This meant that CityCare had to be called out to spread salt on shaded steep slopes. As sand proved ineffective throughout Norfolk, it was decided at the Norfolk County Council Winter review to fill all grit bins with a salt/sand mix throughout the coming winter season.'

The city council is responsible for gritting roads in Norwich and plans to do the same network of roads as last year, with two exceptions. Violet Road, in the north of the city, has been moved to the third priority routes because on 21 occasions last year gritting vehicles could not get down the street because of parked cars on the bend. A grit bin will be placed there this year instead.

And Southwell Road, in Lakenham, has been upgraded to the second priority network because it is an important bus route.

Council bosses have also acknowledged a reduced number of gritting vehicles in Norwich from six to five, saving �40,000, could mean a 'higher risk' of not meeting a three hour target of gritting roads.

But city council spokesman Miss Lyall said: 'We have rearranged the gritting routes and we estimate that it will be possible to grit our network in three hours using five vehicles.

'Early grit runs this season indicate that this is correct, and five vehicles should be sufficient. Not using the sixth gritter gives us significant cost savings in plant, staff and fuel.'

• Do you think Norwich is ready for the winter? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email