The exact Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill roads where gritting will no longer take place during cold weather have been revealed in maps sent to the Middy.
West Sussex County Council has decided to reduce the percentage of the road network it grits from 41 per cent to 31 per cent as part of cost-cutting measures.
Roads in Haywards Heath which will no longer be gritted include Paddockhall Road, Heath Road, Harlands Road, Turners Mill Road, Penlands Road, Oathall Avenue, Little Bentswood, Bentswood Road, New England Road, America Lane, Westlands Road, Northlands Avenue, Frankton Avenue, Western Road, Colwell Road, Ashenground Road, Haywards Road, Vale Road, Sheppeys, Pinewood Way, Bolding Way; Parkfield Way, Heyworth Ride, Middle Village, Updown Hill and Lower Village in Bolnore; College Road, Gander Hill, Sunte Avenue and Hickmans Lane in Lindfield as well as Backwoods Lane, Appledore Gardens and Gravelye Lane; Hanleye Road leading into Cuckfield and parts of Broad Street in the village centre.
Meanwhile in Burgess Hill roads that will not longer be treated are Lower Church Road, Civic Way by the Church of St John The Evangelist, Crescent Road, Mill Road, Cyprus Road, Church Road, Queens Crescent, Chanctonbury Road, Oak Hall Park, Greenlands Drive, Victoria Way, Victoria Gardens, Albert Drive, Charles Avenue, Maple Drive, Janes Lane, Manor Road and St Andrews Road.
Gemma Bolton, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Mid Sussex, said she was ‘seriously concerned’ about the cuts.
She added: “The Mid Sussex Labour team and I believe that such a reckless decision will put people’s lives at risk. The network gritted is being reduced from 41% to 31% and will include school and bus routes, hills and many minor roads. Chanctonbury Road in Burgess Hill is targeted, for example, even though it is home to two schools, one of them a SEN school that brings many children in by bus and taxi every day.
“This draconian measure will save only £150,000 but is bound to cost far more in accidents and increased need for essential services. Any motorist or bus user who ends up trapped or stranded on such iced up roads will know they only have the local Tories to thank for their predicament.”
Even Mims Davies, the Conservatives’ general election candidate for Mid Sussex, voiced her concerns on Twitter. She said: “I’ve been in road safety & find what’s reported as truly unacceptable. It’s hilly & therefore likely dangerous - especially up towards hospital these roads are particularly crucial to be made safe.”
Sujan Wickremaratchi, Tory county councillor for Haywards Heath Town, added on Twitter: “WSCC must consult local county councillors before making decisions on which roads will not be gritted- bus & school routes must be gritted and main cut through routes - Colwell Rd, Ashenground Rd, Harlands - Northlands Wood , Heath Rd, Boltro Rd - a must.”
Michael Jones, leader of the Labour group at County Hall, said: “It looks like the West Sussex Tories have come up with a scheme that abandons virtually all of the towns across the county.
“Residents face the prospect of being snowed in and even more difficulties in getting to work and carrying on their everyday activities in extreme cold weather conditions. It is a recklessly short sighted measure, there’s no recognition that people won’t be able to get on to the roads that have been cleared if their roads are iced up.
“Any motorists or bus users who end up trapped or stranded on such iced up roads will know they only have the local Tories to thank for their predicament.”
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We have taken a risk-based approach to identifying the roads most in need of being treated, which prioritises roads that have highest use and provides access to key facilities across the network.
“To make best use of our finite resources, it is important to focus our efforts on gritting roads where there is high demand, so we have reviewed our West Sussex Winter Service Policy in line with the national code of practice, Well Managed Highway Infrastructure. This means the new service level during icy conditions reduces from 41 per cent of the road network to 31 per cent, which equates to 1,283 km of the network and targets high speed/high volume roads.
“The reduction in the amount of network that we treat does produce savings for the authority as we have reduced the number of gritters and drivers we need. The total savings this year are around £150,000 – however, if we get a prolonged spell of frost and snow then costs will increase.
“The county council will continue to promote a ‘safety first’ message and remind road users that those who drive on public highways should do so in a manner and at a speed that is safe, having regard to such matters as the nature of the road, the weather conditions and the traffic conditions.”
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