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Next entry: Snow on Master Park

Previous entry: This time last week

Friday, 18 January 2013
Scouting for Snow

I took a short ride this morning as the snow started to settle in Oxted, to assess the situation.  The first thing that struck me was that Tandridge Council is still (despite previous “promises”) complacent about the snow on footpaths.  And (as you can see in the video) there are a lot of people out and about on foot in Oxted.  As the snow sets in there will be more, because more people choose to walk into the centre when their local road/driveways are snowed under.  The second thing that struck me was that the key roads that I looked at all seem OK, but that drivers are not really respecting the situation and are driving a bit fast and loose. 

Here is a summary of my (no doubt, now-out-of-date) observations:

Church Lane - road fine, pavement not gritted by Tandridge District Council.
Station Road West - road fine, pavement gritted, presumably by local traders.
Station Approach - road fine, pavement gritted - probably by the station/rail authority.
Bluehouse Lane - road fine, pavement not gritted by Tandridge District Council or Oxted School.
Gresham Road - road fine, pavement not gritted by Oxted Health Centre, Oxted Library, or outsideTandridge District Council.
Station Road East - road fine, pavement not gritted outside Tandridge District Council.  However some gritting has been done (inconsistently) outside shops, presumably by local traders.

At Master Park, only the entrance to the parking near to the British Legion appears to be open, and the snow was slowly starting to settle on the ground.

Tandridge District Council have in the past pointed out that they are not the party responsible for failing to grit any roads or pavements, but that it is Surrey County Council who are responsible.  They have a FAQ on their website which states:

Why haven’t you gritted the roads or pavements?

The pavements, like the roads, are also the responsibility of Surrey County Council, although it is unreasonable to expect the County to clear all roads. Surrey has to concentrate on the main roads and town centres. You can get details of the salting routes in Tandridge on Surrey’s website Salting routes in Tandridge.

Any enquiries about gritting and snow clearance visit www.surreycc.gov.uk, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 0300 200 1003.

Tandridge District Council has no responsibility for roads or pavements in this area.

In the past however, it has been pointed out that Surrey Council state that while they only grit high-priority roads in the county, they also offer grit to local authorities so that they can augment this effort and do pavements in certain towns.  After being criticised two years ago for not taking up Surrey County Council for this offer, last year Tandridge District Council did initiate some kind of local scheme. So even the Tandridge District Council website states elsewhere:

Roads and gritting

Surrey County Council is responsible for roads and pavements in Tandridge, including snow clearance and gritting. Any enquiries about gritting and snow clearance should be made to Surrey County Council on 0300 200 1003, or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Details of the salting routes in Tandridge are on Surrey’s website http://www.surreycc.gov.uk.

Working together

Last year Surrey County Council, Tandridge District Council, along with the parish councils and chambers of commerce in Lingfield, Caterham and Oxted, developed a partnership to help with snow clearance and salting in town and village centres.  Each of the areas co-ordinate volunteer teams to help with winter maintenance and are given salt spreaders, snow shovels and salt by Tandridge District Council and Surrey County Council.

This partnership allowed the community to help clear snow more quickly in high streets and essential pedestrian and business areas, as well as to keep the local economy moving.  Surrey County Council was able to concentrate on the road network and Tandridge District Council on clearing public car parks and sheltered housing.

This year this partnership has been extended to include the parishes of Warlingham, Whyteleafe, Godstone and Tatsfield.

Clearing snow and ice

Residents and businesses are legally entitled to clear ice and snow from outside their home or shop. As long as snow is cleared responsibly and without causing further risk to passers-by, there is no reason why they should be liable to anyone who may slip on the surface they have cleared. More information about clearing paths safely can be found on the website www.tandridge.gov.uk/winter.

Interestingly however Tandridge District Council (on the first morning of the snow at least) did not even clear the snow off the pavement outside their own offices.  Furthermore there is not really evidence that they have co-ordinated any effort on the part of the local Oxted community to ensure key pavements (used by elderly residents, the sick, or school pupils, for example) are cleared. There is some more information about what Tandridge District Council are / are not doing at the Horne Parish Council website:

Roads and gritting

Surrey County Council is responsible for roads and pavements in Tandridge, including snow clearance and gritting. Any enquiries about gritting and snow clearance should be made to Surrey County Council on 0300 200 1003, or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Details of the salting routes in Tandridge are on Surrey’s website http://www.surreycc.gov.uk.

Where possible, street cleaning crews will help grit pavements in the larger towns. Surrey County Council is giving Tandridge District Council up to 40 tonnes of salt to use. Tandridge will be working with local businesses in Oxted, Caterham and Lingfield to help salt high street pavements, as well as other essential pedestrian areas.

So perhaps Tandridge Council will still be doing something…. anyway it’s still early days. The snowy weather is forecasted to last the rest of the weekend, and my neighbours and I will only go out over the weekend and clear the road, our driveways, and the driveways of neighbours who are not able to do this for themselves. Therefore these are my tentative observations only, as I watch the flurries of snow swirling outside this afternoon: my local Tandridge District Council makes it very clear that gritting is not their responsibility, and I must contact someone else with regards to any questions, queries or complaints.  However they also want it to be known that they are doing something to support local business and services with regards to additional gritting.  Although they are no doubt trying to impress us with this, precisely what they are doing remains suitably vague, and all queries must be made to someone else….because they are not responsible.

Posted by bigblue on 18/01/2013 at 01:42 PM
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