Urgent talks to clear Cirencester streets in the snow

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Snow-packed pavements in Cirencester Snow-packed pavements in Cirencester

URGENT TALKS are being held in an attempt to stop Cirencester’s pavements becoming ice rinks during the next fall of snow.

The Standard has received complaints from readers that nothing was done to clear foopaths in the town during the recent extreme weather in December, and many people fell as a result.

Now, Cirencester Town Council officials are looking at ways of changing their insurance policies so council staff are covered for the clearing work.

"I saw dozens of people falling over on untreated pavements and roads. Surely in 2010 the Council can do more?" said Andrew Parffrey who runs a bistro in the town centre.

"Black Jack Street was a skating rink - no gritters - no ploughs, no people clearing pavements.

"I rang the council to complain on four occasions with the promise of a call back - but nothing".

Student Joe Harris said: "On Christmas Eve I spent the entire afternoon removing ice from the Silver Street pavements where the ice was so severe that I counted six people slipped while I was working. I then gritted the pavements along the street.

"I took a walk around town and it was the same story, no treatment anywhere. Why hasn’t the council made any attempt to treat the pavements?"

Councillor Deryck Nash, chairman of Cirencester Town Council’s Project Board, and also a Cotswold District Councillor, said pavements formed part of the highway, and keeping the highways clear was the job of Gloucestershire county council.

A county council spokeswoman says it did not have the staff or the grit to clear pavements. In other towns and rural areas, local council staff just "got on and did the job". It appeared that Cirencester Town Council wanted assurances on insurance.

"I sympathise with people who have fallen down, or had an accident and hurt themselves, but it is not the town council’s responsibility", said Cllr Nash.

But he added: "There is a willingness to get there. We are pressing on and working hard for a solution.

Talks are due to be held between the town council and Gloucestershire county council’s highways staff on Tuesday 25 January to secure a final agreement.

The town council employs 12-15 ground staff to look after parks and open spaces, but they cannot work during snow and ice.

The town had wanted to second them to the county to help clear highways, but the county council insurance would not cover them.

Now it is likely the town council would have to pay a higher insurance premium, and it was likely that cost would be passed on to the council taxpayer.

Chris Franklin, Gloucestershire Highways Manager, said: "We are going to look at how the two authorities can share resources during winter operations and this may include town council staff helping us clear pavements and roads of snow and ice.

"Similar arrangements are already in place with other town and parish councils across the county and works very well."

Comments (7)

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9:48am Thu 6 Jan 11

Olly Cromwell says...

It's a GCC matter - so can our two Tory County Councillors please pull their fingers out. As for CDC the state of the Waterloo car park on 30th December was like an ice-rink. Why not clear the bays so that punters can actually park and pay you? Useless.
It's a GCC matter - so can our two Tory County Councillors please pull their fingers out. As for CDC the state of the Waterloo car park on 30th December was like an ice-rink. Why not clear the bays so that punters can actually park and pay you? Useless. Olly Cromwell
  • Score: 0

11:27am Thu 6 Jan 11

Council Taxpayer says...

The danger posed to pedestrians in Cirencester during one of the busiest periods of the year was a disgrace and shames each of the local authorities involved.
As they sat paralysed with fear over whether staff were insured if they touched the ice and snow, elderly people were falling and breaking bones.
The safest place in the town was the Woolmarket precinct where shopkeepers got out their shovels and did the job themselves in a couple of hours.
Shops paying high business rates for council services should ask for a rebate.
Can I suggest that, next time it snows, all the shopkeepers in the town clear the pavements themselves and then withhold a suitable amount from their rates in protest.
Do you get the impression that this country is falling apart?
The danger posed to pedestrians in Cirencester during one of the busiest periods of the year was a disgrace and shames each of the local authorities involved. As they sat paralysed with fear over whether staff were insured if they touched the ice and snow, elderly people were falling and breaking bones. The safest place in the town was the Woolmarket precinct where shopkeepers got out their shovels and did the job themselves in a couple of hours. Shops paying high business rates for council services should ask for a rebate. Can I suggest that, next time it snows, all the shopkeepers in the town clear the pavements themselves and then withhold a suitable amount from their rates in protest. Do you get the impression that this country is falling apart? Council Taxpayer
  • Score: 0

12:40pm Thu 6 Jan 11

redwilts says...

Although unable to confirm, I heard someone fell and banged their head and died!!

The whole town was a disgrace, walking, driving and parking.
Although unable to confirm, I heard someone fell and banged their head and died!! The whole town was a disgrace, walking, driving and parking. redwilts
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Thu 6 Jan 11

daveglos says...

Got to agree with council taxpayer. If we all just cleared a small section of pavement in the town or outside our houses, it would help many people out!

Some common sense needs to be applied to the compensation claims culture!
Got to agree with council taxpayer. If we all just cleared a small section of pavement in the town or outside our houses, it would help many people out! Some common sense needs to be applied to the compensation claims culture! daveglos
  • Score: 0

5:11pm Thu 6 Jan 11

youngleader says...

More snow forcast! Seems very unfair that Mr Harris will have to clear it all. Maybe that's how the council interpret Cameron's big society?!
More snow forcast! Seems very unfair that Mr Harris will have to clear it all. Maybe that's how the council interpret Cameron's big society?! youngleader
  • Score: 0

7:15pm Thu 6 Jan 11

Union Man says...

Tesco gid a decent job of clearing the snow at Kingsmeadow, In suppose if you need bric a brac from a tat shop or something for a fancy dress party from a charity shop, or need an estate agent or building society it could be a problem but why not just close the market place down when the snow comes? It not as if there are any essential stores there .
Tesco gid a decent job of clearing the snow at Kingsmeadow, In suppose if you need bric a brac from a tat shop or something for a fancy dress party from a charity shop, or need an estate agent or building society it could be a problem but why not just close the market place down when the snow comes? It not as if there are any essential stores there . Union Man
  • Score: 0

5:05pm Sat 8 Jan 11

Tomdog says...

I am not surprised there is no grit if there staff at Cirencester office have nicked it all. One off the office staff as a nice gritted drive from what has been nicked.
I am not surprised there is no grit if there staff at Cirencester office have nicked it all. One off the office staff as a nice gritted drive from what has been nicked. Tomdog
  • Score: 0

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