FEARS have been voiced that proposed changes to the way High Peak’s roads are gritted will leave many commuters struggling to get to work.
Under the Derbyshire County Council (DCC) proposals, the current gritting routes would be split into two, creating a primary and secondary network. A third, tertiary category, is also proposed that would see external contractors clearing snow on some roads not currently covered.
The primary network, to include A roads, busy B roads and major bus routes, would be gritted during the day and night and would be ‘pre-treated’ before bad weather hits.
However roads covered by the secondary network, including well-used main roads through housing estates and villages, would only be treated during the day, with the first run being completed by mid-morning.
DCC say this would help overcome the problem of parked cars getting in the way of gritting vehicles at night.
But Councillor Jon Goldfinch, Chairman of Whaley Bridge Town Council, said the changes could leave many commuters unable to get off their own roads.
He said: “If roads are not gritted early in the morning or in the night then will those parked cars actually be able to get on to the primary network?”
Councillor Simon Spencer, DCC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said the changes were needed:
“During really bad and prolonged winter weather, it’s extremely difficult to provide an effective gritting service under the current system of covering all gritting routes during night-time hours.
“It’s also a very costly system and at a time when funds are becoming increasingly tight we needed to look at ways to grit Derbyshire’s roads more efficiently and effectively.”
Members of Whaley Bridge Town Council believe Yeardsley Lane in Furness Vale, a steep road that provides the only vehicular access to nearly 200 homes, should be one of the roads treated.
Councillor Barrie Taylor said the road used to be gritted and, if the problem was parked cars, smaller gritting machines, used elsewhere, could be operated.
He added: “I don’t think they should write off an awful lot of people who are dependent on Yeardsley Lane. I think it is essential because of the sheer danger of traffic sliding down to the A6.”
A spokeswoman for DCC said: “We can’t grit all roads in Derbyshire, but we cover around half which is more than most councils.”
To have your say on the plans go to www.derbyshire.gov.uk, or pick up a questionnaire from local libraries or from Call Derbyshire on 08456 058 058. The closing date is October 12.