MP asks Northamptonshire County Council leaders to urgently review gritting service

Corby MP Tom Pursglove has written to the leaders of Northamptonshire County Council to express his concerns about the gritting service
Corby MP Tom Pursglove has written to the leaders of Northamptonshire County Council to express his concerns about the gritting service

A Northamptonshire MP has called on the leaders of Northamptonshire County Council to urgently review the controversial reduced winter gritting service.

The cash-strapped local authority has significantly reduced the number of roads it grits across the county this winter in a bid to save £475,000.

During last week’s wintry weather there were a number of reported accidents across the county and police in Daventry said a request to grit a road that had turned into an "ice rink" was refused by the council.

A woman later crashed into another vehicle after her car skidded on Welton Road, one of 497 roads no longer deemed a priority for gritting by the county council.

In Northampton, a pregnant woman's Renault Clio was hit by a bin lorry that skidded on black ice while a bus was involved in an accident on a no longer gritted road.

Now, Corby MP Tom Pursglove has stepped in and written a letter to the county council’s leader Matt Golby and contacted the council’s chief executive Theresa Grant about his concerns.

The letter sent on January 24 says: “In recent days I have received a number of very legitimate and concerning complaints from my constituents about Northamptonshire County Council’s policy regarding road gritting this winter.

"As such I am writing to align myself with those concerns.

"As well as raising the individual concerns directly with the chief executive directly, I wanted to bring this issue to your attention and urge that you initiative a immediate and rapid review of the council’s policy so as to ensure the necessary safety of local roads.”

In a response on Twitter, NCC Conservative leader Matt Golby seemed to suggest a review would take place.

He tweeted to the MP: “I can assure you this is one of the priority issues right now and is being looked at.”

The county council has been contacted this morning to confirm whether a review will take place or not.

An online petition started two weeks ago by Northampton business woman Joanne Mumford calling on NCC to increase road gritting, on has gained 2,052 signatures.

Liberal democrat councillor Chris Stanbra said councillors had warned the conservative administration when the idea of reducing the winter gritting network was first raised a year ago.

He said: “Matt Golby knew at the time he would get this pressure and he has still gone ahead with the cuts.”

The amount of the county’s road network now gritted as a precautionary measure is 34 percent, which is down from the previous 45 per cent. A total of 411km fewer road surfaces in Northamptonshire are being gritted this year compared to last year.