Anger continues as Stoke-on-Trent motorists accuse council of 'inadequate' gritting
FURIOUS motorists across Stoke-on-Trent say 'inadequate' gritting has seen the city grind to a halt after less than four inches of snow.
The city council revealed last night that it had spread some 350 tonnes of grit on roads since the recent winter whiteout gripped the region.
But many families have complained about the state of a number of main roads, as well as side roads, and those on housing estates.
Particularly badly hit were made about Dividy Road, Bentilee, Anchor Road, Longton, Victoria Road, Fenton and the Lime Kiln lights junction in Bucknall.
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David Thorpe, aged 26, from Wellfield Road, Bentilee, said: "The estate here is just completely covered in snow.
"They need to put more grit on these roads because there's a primary school nearby and it's not safe to have kids walking there with all the rush hour traffic and cars sliding about."
Jason Dean, aged 36, of Tyson Green, said: "Anchor Road and Dividy Road were just like big sheets of ice. It's so dangerous to drive on. I don't believe they can have gritted Anchor Road at all with how slippery it was."
Mel Martin, aged 20, of Dawlish Drive, said: "I just sat in the traffic on Dividy Road yesterday morning. It took me over an hour to get to Hanley – I can't believe how bad the roads were."
Electrician Craig Bentley, aged 40, of Dereham Way in Bentilee, had last night been stuck at home since Friday because he can't get out of his estate.
He said: "I physically cannot get out of the estate. The council has been in touch and said that they are going to grit the street, but they haven't said when which could mean another day of not working."
Nathan Wilkes, the 19-year-old manager of ABC Supreme Private Hire in Burslem, said more than half of the firm's drivers had failed to turn up to work. He added: "Only a few are working because they don't want to drive in these conditions. On Friday one of the drivers had to go home because he got hit, side on. I don't think that the roads have been gritted enough."
Public transport has also been affected, with disruption to road and rail journeys causing delays and cancellations.
And the severe weather experienced over the weekend brought many bus services to a standstill.
Disruptions were continuing last night, despite a slight improvement in the weather, with First Bus's services 1 and 2 diverting via Anchor Road between Adderley Green and Longton, and not serving Saxonfields or Meir Hay. Meanwhile, service 26 was not serving Meir Square.
Ady Culpin, Regional Marketing and PR manager for First Group, said: "Great efforts were made by First staff to keep as many bus services operating as long as possible, but late on Friday afternoon we had no choice but to temporarily suspend all services.
"Saturday and Sunday were a little better, but we could still not serve a number of side roads and areas that had not been gritted."
Stoke-on-Trent City Council said gritting teams were working night and day to try to improve the situation.
But one of the authority's directors admitted the council did not have a 'magic wand.'
A spokesman said: "The council's gritting team will be going out throughout the day and staff are also gritting pavements and filling grit bins."
Pete Price, assistant director of technical services, added: "While we had nine gritting vehicles treating a number of roads, we do not have a magic wand."
The council said there are 450 grit bins across the city, which residents can use to treat roads and footpaths, but they are not within walking distance for some.
Rubbish collections were also cancelled yesterday, although residents will now be able to put out up to an additional two bags on a revised collection day.
Ian Tamburello, the council's strategic manager for car parking and enforcement, said yesterday: "The severe snow and icy conditions unfortunately mean that we have been forced to take the exceptional step to call off waste collections.
"We ask residents for their patience and understanding during these unusually harsh winter conditions."
Susan McCarthy, aged 39, centre manager for the Roebuck Shopping Centre in Newcastle, hopes shops forced to close early on Friday will face no further problems this week.
She said: "The first shop to shut was Bon Marche at 11am and the rest in the afternoon. Although trade was slightly down, we were quite surprised with Saturday's turnout. It could have been a lot worse. I am really impressed with Newcastle Borough Council because they have really kept up with their gritting."
A Met Office spokesman said snow was expected to continue across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire this week, although conditions should become drier.