Winter roads need to be safe

Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg
Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg
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It might seem odd to be worrying about ice and snow in June. However, many in Sheffield are doing so thanks tothe City Council’s plan to stop gritting over 100 miles of Sheffield’s roads this coming winter.

One of the privileges of being MP for Sheffield Hallam is the beautiful scenery. I frequently crisscross the Loxley, Rivelin and Porter Valleys. Places like Stannington, Crosspool and Lodge Moor are at high altitude, which means they offer fantastic views. But when the weather turns my postbag overflows with requests for help and tales of being stranded in their homes.

I am particularly frustrated that again it’s proposed that West Sheffield receives the greatest reductions in service – despite being an area that relies on a winter maintenance service the most. To make matters worse many of the routes councillors want to cut include busy roads, several of which are precarious even in good conditions.

Anyone who knows this side of the City will understand that not treating Hagg Hill near Crosspool or Hangingwater Road in Nether Green will lead to major safety issues. Many suburbs will be badly affected, rural communities could be virtually cut off.

More than anyone else I know difficult choices have to be made. No doubt Sheffield’s Labour councillors will queue to blame me and the Government for their decision and absolve any responsibility. However, when it comes to compromising safety and allowing residents to be needlessly stranded these excuses won’t wash. There are countless ways to find the £100,000, which is to be saved. They could start by collecting the £28m in unpaid Council Tax. Also Lib Dem councillors propose reducing the multi-million pound office refurbishment budget or reducing senior salaries – both have been rejected by Labour. It’s clear we shouldn’t have to ‘Grit and bear it’. The Council’s proposal falls well below the basic level of service and, along with Lib Dem councillors, I intend to stand up for residents.

You can sign our petition against this by visiting http://www.sheffieldlibdems.org.uk/true-grit. I also urge concerned residents to contact the Council to register their objection.