Brentwood salt provision fears

A GAPING hole in salt provision services will lead to ice and snow blackspots around schools and unnecessary closures, it is feared.

Councillor Mike Le-Surf believes areas around Brentwood South will again fall between the cracks of the two tier service supplied by Brentwood and Essex County Council (ECC).

With heavy snowfall and a big freeze being predicted both authorties claim to be ready to combat extreme conditions, with the latter targeting the main roads and the former covering high streets and other roads.

But Endeavour School headteacher Michael Southgate says the area around his and nearby Hogarth School in Hogarth Avenue are routinely left untouched by gritters.

He said: “Last year I had to close the school for two days because 200 yards of road was not done, with children coming from as far afield as Harlow.

“I will happily get a shovel and grit it myself but I just think between the two of them they ought be able to do it. The areas around schools ought to be a priority.”

“The children line up likes soldiers along the Riseway waiting to cross, with cars coming down the hill which might not be able to stop, and you think ‘how long before an accident happens.’”

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At an Environment Panel meeting last week its chairman Roger Hirst admitted there would be ‘some cracks’ in the service.

Cllr Le-Surf said: “My residents will once again suffer as they fall through the gaping holes left in this service. Brentwood used to distribute its own salt and Essex County Council does not seem to understand the needs of our town centre residents.”

“I will be petitioning residents and parents from the schools during December to press the council into addressing this obvious need in my ward.”

ECC says its fleet of 65 gritters and 120 personnel will be on call around the clock to keep major roads clear and gritting salt supplies are at capacity.

It says it is required to keep major roads clear including all ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads, access routes for emergency services, rural link roads and major public transport routes.

Highways leader and County Councillor, Norman Hume, insisted: “Keeping our road network safe throughout winter is a top priority.”

Brentwood Cllr Jean McGinley said the authority will supplement the work of the county council with a ‘commonsense approach.’