Councillors hear claim town is ‘poor relation’ in treated roads

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Horncastle is being frozen out of a fair deal when it comes to gritting operations carried out by Lincolnshire County Council.

That is the accusation made by resident Andrew Neal who describes Horncastle as ‘the poor relation’ of county council policy.

Speaking at a town council meeting last week, Mr Neal produced a map and additional information which he says shows many towns in Lincolnshire see more roads gritted in freezing weather.

Mr Neal listed a number of roads he would like to see gritted in Horncastle and challenged the town council to write to County Hall demanding action is taken.

However, Horncastle County Councillor Bill Aron told Mr Neal that gritters were working to ‘full capacity’.

He said there were no spare lorries, workers or budget to carry out extra runs.

While the county council would always listen to requests to grit roads, Coun Aron said it would mean diverting resources away from high priority A and B routes, both locally and in other areas of the county.

Mr Neal had told the meeting that as far as he was aware, only the A158, A153, West Street /High Street and the B1192 were regularly gritted in the Horncastle area.

He invited councillors to view maps of Lincoln and Grantham which showed many residential streets were gritted.

Mr Neal accepted Lincoln and Grantham are far bigger in terms of population but he said there were other towns more comparable to Horncastle that had more roads treated.

Mr Neal suggested a number of potential routes that could be gritted including Prospect Street, Accommodation Road, Stanhope Road and Mareham Road which he said were all busy commuter routes, and dangerous in cold weather.

Mr Neal said: “We all pay the same council tax for things like gritting, but we are getting a very different service.”

Coun Aron promised he would take up Mr Neal’s points with Highways officials - but did not hold out much hope of a positive response.

Mr Neal responded tersely: “Once again, thank you for your positivity. It’s obvious to anyone we are the poor relation.”

Town Council chairman Coun Brian Burbidge promised Mr Neal that councillors would study his maps before deciding whether to contact County Hall in support of his suggestions.

The County Council grits 1,869 miles of priority roads when road temperatures drop to around 1°C, including:

•All A and B roads

•At least one road from each of the county’s main villages to a major traffic route

•At least one road within 500m of all train and bus stations, hospitals and schools, where possible

•Additional roads depending on various risk factors, such as historic accident data

The Highways Agency is responsible for gritting all trunk roads in Lincolnshire, including on the A1, the A52 Grantham to Nottingham and the A46 west of Lincoln.

No other roads will be treated, except during severe snow or prolonged icy spells.

When they grit, they try to do so either before ice has set, or once snow has settled.