Over 100 salt bins to go as council cuts costs

NADV 1509074AM1 Salt bin (1509074AM2)
NADV 1509074AM1 Salt bin (1509074AM2)
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Parish Councils have been told they will have to fork out £75 per winter to keep the grit bins in their area.

North Yorkshire County Council is stopping the supply of grit bins and grit heaps in the Harrogate District to bring them into line with the rest of the county.

More thean 100 gritbins across Harrogate and Knaresborough could be scrapped, including ones at the entrance to Harlow Carr, on Pannal Bank and in Knaresborough car parks.

Lib Dem County Coun Bill Hoult (Knaresborough) has hit back at the council over a lack of consultation.

He said: “I am furious with the way the letter has been worded and the lack of consultation about the proposal. This dictatorial attitude breaks all the precepts of good local government. Whatever happened to local councils working together? Tory Chiefs at County Hall may be trying hard to impose cuts on spending but this is not the way.

“The Leader at County Hall has spoken about the close working relationship that Harrogate and Knaresborough have with County and how we would be better staying with them in the event of a combined authority rather than throwing our hat in with Leeds. If this salt bin action is an example many will say no thanks, if it means being lectured like children on what is good for us.”

The county council is in the middle of a £170m savings programme and it said that currently North Yorkshire has at least five times the provision of grit bins and heaps compared to other local authorities so any reduction will still leave a service which is far in excess of that provided nationally.

County Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive Member for Highways said: “We want to make sure that our supply of grit bins and heaps is consistent across the county.

“North Yorkshire has an excellent winter maintenance programme and these changes, though making savings, ensure that grit bins remain in those places where they are most needed.”

Coun Jim Clark (Con, Rossett) said: “I am worried, there are quite a few going I hope we get a mild winter.

“The big gritters can’t get to every single street or the footpaths so these have been useful.”

The authority is sending letters out to parish councils across the four districts during the course of the next few weeks explaining which grit bins do not meet the criteria. However, parish councils will have opportunity to keep the bin and pay an annual maintenance fee of £75, which will see it filled twice over the course of the winter.

This can be arranged as part of the council’s winter partnership scheme, which encourages parish councils to bring together volunteers who are willing to clear snow and treat roads and footpaths.

Residents in Riccall, near Selby, set up their own ‘snow patrol’ in 2011 and a similar group called ‘The Grit Squad’ operates in South Milford.

Will you set up a snow clearing group? Email news@harrogateadvertiser.co.uk