Sheffield grit contractor accused of putting lives at risk

Treacherous: Residents in the Mayfield Valley say they have seen no gritting on the area's lanes in recent days. Photo: Liz Rhodes.
Treacherous: Residents in the Mayfield Valley say they have seen no gritting on the area's lanes in recent days. Photo: Liz Rhodes.
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SHEFFIELD highways maintenance contractor Amey has been accused of ‘lack of service or professionalism’ by a farmer who has kept a diary showing how roads in his area have been untreated during winter ice.

The Star revealed yesterday residents claimed their roads are being left ungritted and dangerous after a farmer’s contract to treat them had been cancelled after 30 years.

Stephen Rhodes, of Greenhouse Farm, Andwell Lane, said: “We have had no grit wagons on Andwell Lane over the last few days, at the weekend, or previously.

Yesterday, The Star revealed concerns from residents in the Mayfield Valley area who said roads are being left in a ‘lethal’ condition with vehicles unable to get through and some drivers abandoning their cars.

People in the area say pensioners are being left without home visits while deliveries to farms are having difficulties.

“To the best of my knowledge they have gritted it once, and that was at least two weeks ago before wintry conditions set in.”

But Amey says it has been out gritting roads around the Mayfield Valley 27 times since frosts started.

The company said roads in the Mayfield Valley ‘have been gritted and that gritting will continue’.

Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member responsible for environment and streetscene, said he would be examining GPS data showing which roads the gritters have treated.

Mr Rhodes has sent The Star a diary detailing lack of work to keep the roads treated and complaints made to the council – along with photographs showing the treacherous conditions in the area.

FARMER STEPHEN RHODES’ WINTER DIARY

Wednesday, December 5: “I rang Sheffield Council to request a grit wagon as Andwell Lane, which is a steep hill and busy commuter route, was like a sheet of ice, and extremely dangerous.

“I spoke to a gentleman to request this; when no grit wagon came my wife, Liz Rhodes, sent an email in the afternoon requesting a grit wagon; one did not come.”

Thursday, December 6: “It started to snow at approx 3.30pm. The snow was forecast and by tea time the commuter traffic was finding it very difficult to drive up and down the lane, as again they’d still not gritted the road.

“We rang our son and told him not to come home from work as the road was lethal as it was still snowing quite heavily. One of our daughters did manage to come in from work but went straight back out whilst the road was still passable to stay at a friends so that she could get to work the next morning.

“Still no gritters that evening.”

Friday, December 7: “At approx 8.30am, Liz rang for a gritter as the road was treacherous and was told that they were only doing priority and secondary routes.

“It was explained within this call that we were a secondary route, a busy commuter route and known hotspot as stated on the criteria listed on their website. Again, no grit wagon. My wife emailed again that afternoon to request one, and again, still no grit wagon.”

Monday, December 10: “My wife again rang for a grit wagon approx 8.25am as the road was lethal again traffic was stuck on the bridge at Douse Croft. She told him we had rung twice the week before and that no

gritters had come. We still have not had a grit wagon.”

Tuesday, December 11: “We have still not had a gritter tonight and the road again is lethal.”

Mr Rhodes said: “The gritting service and snow ploughing that we have had over the last few years has been excellent when done by a local contractor. Since Amey have took over the contract the service is appalling. On our first real snow, we’ve have had a wall knocked out.

“The service Amey is not providing is going to see someone get seriously hurt through this busy commuter route through Mayfield Valley.”