Treat our road, say 550

By Martin Neville

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Treat our road, say 550

Wayne Norris, left, and Jonathan Young, with the petition about treatment of the Niton-to-Rookley road. Picture by Jennifer Burton.

MORE than 500 villagers have signed a petition demanding the Isle of Wight Council salt Niton’s main road to Newport, after a spate of accidents on ice before Christmas.

The council removed the Niton-to-Rookley road from its treatment network in 2009, when severe early winter weather led to a national salt shortage.

It has never been reinstated and the council recommends using longer routes, via Chale and Chillerton or Whitwell and Godshill, to get to Newport.

Residents claim the Rookley road, a school bus route, is prone to run-off from fields and in December police had to close it several times after early-morning accidents.

On one occasion, it is understood an ambulance was unable to reach the scene of a crash and the driver had to walk to the ambulance from his wrecked car.

With signatures collected at Norris Family Grocers passing the 550 mark, the petition has now been handed to Cllr David Pugh, leader of the Isle of Wight Council.

Retired journalist Jonathan Young, a parish councillor who organised the petition with Wayne Norris, said: "Around half the adult population of Niton signed the petition in just a few weeks over Christmas.

"The council has tried to tell us it’s still banned by the government from using salt on roads such as ours but it’s failed to provide the evidence of this, despite a Freedom of Information request.

"Our research shows other councils use government guidelines as a minimum, not a maximum, figure for salt stocks. It’s time the council put public safety before saving money, which seems to be the only reason for this policy."

Peter Hayward, the council’s strategic manager for highways and transport, said the authority did not have the resources to treat all the Island’s main roads or all the minor roads connecting to them.

"Though not on the gritted route, we continue to treat specific locations known to suffer from icy patches and routinely install 'salt socks’ so water running from the verges passes through the sock, picking up salt, which prevents it freezing.

"We will be reviewing the gritting routes at the end of the season."



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by Martin Heath

14th January 2013, at 17:17:01

Well I'm sure Mr Pugh will give it priority treatment. . . . . . . Who am I trying to kid.

This Council is going to be hit with some awesome compensation claims if they're not very careful. I've ridden motorcycles for 35= years. I only ride for recreation nowadays with the occasional 5 minute commute when the weather suits. I can tell you, the Island road network is way beyond the joke. It's only a matter of time before a Motorcyclist is killed because of the state of the roads. Speed won't be a factor.

I'd love to take a Councillor around the Island on pillion just to give them an idea as to how downright dangerous the roads are like outside the safety of a four wheeled box.

If any councilors would like to take me up on the offer, please do so.

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by ian armstrong

14th January 2013, at 07:25:34

This is another classic example of 'if we ignore the problem it will go away'. Yet again the Council has proved it thinks about itself only. I've just read another article on here about the refurbishment of two leisure centres and the 7 million quid set aside for it. 7 million quid and they can't be ****d to spend a few thousand on keeping people's lives safe. Well done you selfish a*seholes.

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by Julie Phillips

13th January 2013, at 18:45:28

I suppose after a tragic accident has happened they will reinstate, priorities are all wrong as usual

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by Douglas Bailey

12th January 2013, at 19:32:40

Sack them all. Get them out, haven't we any one with common sense anymore? I visited my sister in Niton on one of the days the road was closed and had to turn off at the pub and it doubled the time to get there.
Come on get your fingers out and salt the road, we pay enough in road tax, petrol tax and rates!! Disgusted.

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by Neil Hartland

12th January 2013, at 12:55:42

Mr Hayward, if its due to a lack of salt which is the problem, can i advise you that they have plenty at Tesco at the moment... only £3 per kilo.

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by Jonathan Young

12th January 2013, at 12:34:17

The promise of a review at the end of the season is no more than confirmation of one of the terms of the PFI contract, and in Niton we're not holding our breath on that one. The fact is that the IWC has now had a full month since people's lives were last put at risk by their failure to discharge their responsibilities under the Highways Act. The weather forecast for the coming week suggests icy conditions. This is now an urgent problem which needs to be addressed, not at officer level but by intervention from our elected representatives. And we've told them so.

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by tony white

12th January 2013, at 11:15:49

Mr Hayward, wouldn't it be a good idea to review the gritting routes now, ice is not a great problem in the summer is it.
As for the government advice of two years ago limiting griitting it was a result of severe shortages of salt, a problem which does not exist now but the county hall muppets still happily quote it as if it were law, they are not intelligent or competent enough to actually think on their own

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by John Lovell

12th January 2013, at 11:12:59

Quote "We will be reviewing the gritting routes at the end of the season".
Is that when the threat of ice and its attendant dangers has past?
Mr. Hayward... It beggars belief. You couldn't make it up.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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