Salt spreader bought by community group

A new salt spreader has been purchased by volunteers from the Lavant Valley to help get their communities moving in winter weather.

The SEWCREST group, which represents the villages of Singleton, East Dean and West Dean along with the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum and the West Dean Estate, bought the mobile salt spreader with a Big Society grant approved by West Sussex County Council.

Fed up with the difficulties caused whenever snow and ice strikes their rural roads, the small network of half a dozen volunteers approached the county council to ask for their own equipment to clear it.

SEWCREST volunteer Nick Conway, who works for the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, said: “Anytime we get snow it collects on all the back roads, packs down into frost and becomes very treacherous.

“That is why we needed this salt spreader - it will help make the roads safer for people in Singleton, East Dean and West Dean during the winter.”

The County Council was impressed by SEWCREST’s application and awarded the group £5,600 from its Big Society Fund to buy it outright.

Nick will train some of his fellow volunteers to use the salt spreader and once winter comes they will salt the rural side roads as and when they need to.

Local County Councillor Mike Hall, Chairman of South Chichester County Local Committee, who made the application on SEWCREST’s behalf, said: “This ticks all the right boxes for the Big Society because it allows these communities to help themselves, particularly as this area is so rural it is the last place you would expect to see a salt spreader.”