Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Slippery slope at Kent County Council

I have been trying to find out just what happened with the gritting over last weekend in Thanet, and am coming to the conclusion that there was some sort of mistake that meant that the main Thanet roads didn’t actually get gritted although KCC Highways assure me they should have been.

I am not particularly interested in recrimination on this one but am very keen to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

From personal observation here in Ramsgate town centre the two main problems related to the main bus route not being gritted, this stopped the busses for most of Saturday, and Ramsgate shopping centre roads and pavements that weren’t gritted either.

Some of the fancy new cobbles that have replaced traditional paving slabs are very slippery when wet and with ice on them were pretty much impossible to walk on.

The only gritting that I noticed was on Monday morning to the pedestrianised area, this was just after the ice thawed and just before it rained, so it was all washed away.

Other people I know noticed a skidding bus blocking Westcliff Road with the emergency services being called.

The Margate Road leading to Westwood Cross and more importantly the QEQM Hospital, with the other emergency services based in the area, was not gritted on Saturday morning.

Did anyone else notice gritting problems?


  1. KCC is more concerned with running its Commercial Activities division and other pet projects like Kent TV and Kent HealthWatch than with basic services like providing enought gritting lorries. Last winter (dec/jan) KCC's own private company was cutting the grass verges - what a waste of our money. In the last year they have spent at least £600,000 on Kent TV, £300,000 on healthwatch and have been on a highways dept reorganisation costing £17,000,000 although they have now scrapped plans for the last depot. No wonder they skimp on providing real services at local level. There was a time when the district councils cleared the roads and streets of snow but KCC probably beleive that the district councils will still be blamed for the lack of any action.
    Next KCC will be blaming the weather for causing pot holes! Do they now only plan for mild winters?
    As a trailer you may wonder why and how KCC have managed to spend £277,000 on revamping their web site which went live last week and the spending on this is not yet over. Thats a few extra gritting lorries. If TDC ever improve their web site it gives you an idea of the costs involved.

  2. I came to the conclusion that KCC couldn't possibly be expected to grit all the roads in Kent in one night and that, since we're an island and pretty much immune to freezing conditions compared to the rest of Kent, KCC had (justifiably) prioritised elsewhere.

    I also noticed Scissorhand Pete had cleared snow away from the front of his shop and that the pavement there remained ice free all weekend. I for one will clear mine and my old neighbours paths as soon as it stops snowing the next time. Maybe it's time we all re-learnt how to look after ourselves?

  3. KCC has something like 5000 miles of roads and 4000 miles of pavements in Kent to maintain, everyone expects everywhere to be gritted several times a day which isn't possible !

  4. The district councils used to be able to clear the streets in town centres so I can only assume that KCC is spending a lot less on this than the district councils did. Its not right that some parts of the county have priority. We all pay KCC taxes. There was a lawyer on local BBC today and his advice was that you did not clear the snow in front of your shop/property. First of all it may be a public highway and not yours and then there is the problem of somebody sueing you if they slip over on a cleared area. You will not be covered by your insurance company for this. How times have changed from when you could do this and not be sued.

  5. I agree that everywhere can't be gritted, but I don't accept that roads with OAP accommodation should be ignored. Neither should town centre areas.

    I'm sure that KCC will be hearing a lot from 'claims direct'!


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