Councillor Martin Wright: ‘Disgraceful’ lack of gritting

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There is only one word in my view which adequately describes the approach demonstrated by Nottinghamshire County Council in considering their action, or inaction, when the snow hit Mansfield and Ashfield on Boxing Day evening, and that word is disgraceful.

The media and local news organisations were warning everyone about the impending heavy snowfall from as early as 8am on Boxing Day.

There were certainly no excuses for council gritters being absent from our roads after the rain turned to snow at around 5.30pm.

Ashfield councillor Jason Zadrozny was correct in stating that ”lives had been put at risk” on Boxing Day evening.

That evening I had to walk home from Sutton and there was no sign of a gritter on the ring road (A617), Skegby Lane (B6014) or Abbott Road (A6075), and I feared for those who might have needed to attend King’s Mill Hospital accident and emergency department that night.

My telephone was red hot the following day with calls from constituents in Forest Town annoyed that no gritting had taken place in the area and that grit bins were empty.

Those in a position of authority at County Hall should now carry out a full investigation into the events leading to this disastrous episode.

Was it poor forward planning or Bank Holiday staffing problems, even though staff were presumably on call for such an emergency?

The council taxpayers of Mansfield and district need and deserve to know.

Whilst on the subject of snow and ice, the government have recently moved to reassure residents that they can, without fear, clear any snow or ice from footpaths and public areas outside of their property without facing litigation should anyone slip as a result, providing that they have acted responsibly and not made matters worse.

This year will see the Parliamentary, mayoral and district council elections, all of which will take place on Thursday May 7th.

Unlike some local politicians, I want everyone to vote and use all the options available to them, otherwise those not doing so may well wake up on Friday 8th May with elected representatives that they don’t want and would never have supported.

I urge anyone that has moved house, reached voting age or not previously been registered to go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or contact Mansfield District Council on 01623 463463.

To find out more go to www.gov.uk/yourvotematters.

Finally, if I may take this opportunity, I would like to wish the people of Mansfield a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.