Thursday, 7 January 2010

It’s All White With Kent County Council, Isn’t It?

A few pictures of snow in Ramsgate this morning click on the link for them no signs of gritting again today and I have only seen one bus get through today.

Mal has just emailed me some more snow picture click on the link for them anyone else got any?

No worries for me as the bookshop is closed today so my customers not being able to get here doesn’t make any difference.

I don’t think the lack of or inadequate gritting, not really sure what it is, seems to be understood by KCC the cost to Thanet’s economy must be colossal, I will do my best to explain this in terms my own business, with thoughts about what is going wrong.

My bookshop is at the bottom of The Plains of Waterloo, funny name for a road, I know but there have been funnier ones. Anyway this is a steep hill on the main bus route and I can’t really miss what goes on there in terms of traffic and road maintenance because nearly all of my windows look out on it.

I have been here since 1987 working in the bookshop and living above and up until this winter every time it has snowed the council have made special efforts to grit it, both the road and the treacherous sloping pavements, one has to be careful negotiating these when they are wet and ice makes them pretty much impossible to stand up on.

Now KCC assure us that gritting is still going on as normal, but there is no sign of any grit, previous years you could see it very clearly, brown and rather nasty.

When it snowed on the Saturday before Christmas it should have been the busiest shopping day of the year, as it was the bookshop takings were 10% of what I expected, it’s all a bit difficult to work out what this means in terms of lost profit as takings would probably have been down a certain amount because of the snow, even if the roads and pavements leading to the shop had been gritted as normal. There is also the factor that some people would have come another day to buy their books. At a guess I would say the amount of profit lost was between £200 and £300 which to me is just the same as if someone had taken this amount out of your wages, before tax deductions.

Anyway back sort of on subject you may remember back in may I had a problem with a drain at the bottom of Plains of Waterloo see well I notified KCC highways of the problem with the drain and they came and dug up the road. I had assumed that they had mended it but in fact it still doesn’t work in exactly the same way.

There is also the appalling state of the pavements and road surfaces in this part of Ramsgate, a couple of times recently KCC workers have turned up fixed one paving slab in amongst lots of others that are either broken displaced or wobbly, completely ignoring the others.

They did this to one outside the bookshop the other day, lifted it up and put a bit more sand under it, not enough though as it started to sink again in a couple of days.
What I am getting at there is has something changed, or is it just my perception of things, as they seem to be going through the motions of fixing things but not succeeding very well, I am wondering if the gritting lorry came along but the grit didn’t actually come out of it for instance.

A bit of an update here, they have just 1.30pm come along and gritted the pavement between my bookshop and the town centre, it looks amazingly bizarre as the grit extends to the bottom of the really treacherous hill but not up it click on the link for a picture of this I know the answer to this will be that it isn’t part of the town centre.

As you can see the road itself is pretty slippery, with vehicles and pedestrians making their way down it together at walking pace.

Three busses came through pretty much all at the same time about half an hour ago whch suggests the roads must be clearing a bit.

and this from th KM website



I will ramble on here as the day goes on and hopefully add a few more pictures.


  1. It's worse for me. With no real buses running and the difficulty in otherwise getting about it means that I face the prospect of zero earnings in January which is not a pleasant thought.

    I would have thought that main bus routes were a vital "infrastructure" need. The way some TDC documents go on about Stage Coach being the preferred provider and pretty much the entire solution to congestion at West Wood Cross at one stage one might be forgiven for thinking that the roads would be in good working order at the first hint of ice or snow.

  2. Things have changed with the maintenance of the highways in Kent. First the responsibility moved from the 12 district councils to KCC. Then in the last few years KCC decided to centralised these depots into 3 super depots at a cost of £17,000,000 (although this sum has been reduced a bit by using an existing site). So when there is a problem the gangs probably travel a good few miles before they start work. The local councils were able to quicky redirect effort when the snow came. Now KCC and the District councils have first to reach an agreement to use local workers.
    You may be interest to see the Winter Info on the KCC website. Number of gritters, roads covered etc.
    KCC has just thrown £277,000 on a revamp of the site with more to come. I was happy with the old site. If you can make the interactive 'map of salting in Kent' work good luck.

    But as KCC's web site says ' Your County - Putting Kent First'.

  3. Thanks for all the lovely photos - makes you glad you live in Ramsgate, doesn't it? Loved the Granville lion - he really did look frozen!

  4. Matt it baffles me I could easily lose as much money as my business rates this year because my customers can’t get to me.

    13.59 sounds like they have mended something that wasn’t broken, see what you mean about the online map it got well and truly stuck for me. The way government organisations use the internet is very strange I get the feeling that they publish stuff to the internet and never get anyone to test it to see if it actually works.

  5. Millicent always a pleasure the photos are becoming a sort of automatic reaction to going anywhere now.

  6. Michael. They have run out of salt (and are actually telling their gritting crews not to turn up to work as there is no grit to spread) although they certainly won't be admitting to this in public.

    You heard it here first.

  7. Unbelievably, in my road (a small cul-de-sac) I saw the first street cleaner in months today...but of course he didn't find any rubbish as it was all hidden under snow! Why can't they be sent out to put grit on the pavements instead? The pavement on the main route (Canterbury Rd) from Westgate to Margate was very treacherous all day today (& the road wasn't much better).


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