DIY snow and ice clearance encouraged

People will be encouraged to tackle more do-it-yourself snow and ice clearance after talks between councillors and officials in north Norfolk.Holt councillors led the initiative after the last big cold snap caused major problems for motorists and pedestrians in the town.

People will be encouraged to tackle more do-it-yourself snow and ice clearance after talks between councillors and officials in north Norfolk.

Holt councillors led the initiative after the last big cold snap caused major problems for motorists and pedestrians in the town.

Talks with highways officials highlighted public reluctance to clear paths, which had been heightened by North Norfolk District Council's decision not to treat car parks after advice from their insurers that the authority could be sued if it did not do a thorough job.

County councillor John Perry-Warnes said a series of action points had arisen from the meeting such as more grit bins, calling on more local farmers for help, but also the need to 'stress to people clearing the paths they would not be liable.'


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Holt town clerk Di Dann claimed people's worries had been 'whipped up by press articles' and that more self help should be encouraged.

Last month the county council urged residents, shopkeepers and businesses to help with snow and ice clearance, and said worries they could become liable if someone slipped and fell on an area they had tried to clear were 'unfounded.'

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The district council has now echoed those sentiments, asking the community to 'pull together' in bad weather.

And it has said its car park clearance was more down to resources than insurance - but that refuse teams might be drafted in to help.

Leader Virginia Gay said: 'We are looking again at our insurance position, but in any case the biggest issue for us has always been the limited resources we have available. That hasn't changed.

'If we have a severe district-wide snowfall, we will be relying on Norfolk County Council to grit, just like everyone else. But we have some flexibility in our waste contract that means some of our refuse collection teams might, in some circumstances, be assigned to gritting under the county council's direction if they can't empty the bins.'

She added: 'We have always encouraged people to use their own good sense about how they respond to bad weather. In extreme and unusual situations, where the weather goes far beyond what we all normally have to deal with, then the whole community is going to feel the strain and of course the community will want to pull together and take a bit of responsibility for making life easier. That's what people do.'

Other initiatives from the Holt meeting include:

The town council buying a hand pulled grit spreader - costing up to �500 - to treat local pavements

Asking more farmers to help with clearance

Talks with Sanders Coaches who struggled to get their buses out of their Hempstead Road depot

Providing more self-help grit bins at the underpasses

Advising traders on path clearance

Asking for more local roads to be put on the top priority routes for gritting.

At the moment priority roads are the bypass, Cromer Road, Market Place and High Street. But extra top ranking roads could be Station Road, Charles Road, Edinburgh Road, Bull Street, White Lion Street and Albert Street

Andy Turner told fellow councillors the last big freeze was 'a farce, with pensioners falling over' and action was needed.

District councillor Philip High said 'you have to bear in mind the severity of the winter.' The authorities had 'tried their best which was not quite good enough.'

Feedback on the action points will be investigated by a town council working party for recommendations to be brought back for decisions later.

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