Flintshire councils reject salt bin proposal

Reporter:

Hayley Collins and Matt Jones

COMMUNITY councils have rejected an offer from Flintshire Council to supply them with extra salt bins during the winter weather.

The council is offering town and community councils the chance to buy extra salt bins. Each bin would cost £135, plus £60 for every refill, while bags of rock salt costing £5 will also be made available to communities.

But despite the imminent threat of Arctic conditions, town and community councils are refusing to foot the bill.

At a meeting of Mold Town Council, councillors were adamant it was not their responsibility.

Cllr Andrea Mearns said: “Surely this should be Flintshire County Council’s responsibility. These people live in adopted roads and they all pay their council tax so why should Mold Town Council foot the bill for this?”

Cllr Carolyn Cattermoul said: “This is a step too far. All the people in Mold pay their council tax so how can you discriminate against who already gets a bin and who can only have one if the town council pay?

“People are going to be double-rated and it’s completely unfair.”

After last year’s treacherous winter Mold councillors asked for extra bins in Fir Grove, Wood Green, Moldsdale Road and Woodlands Close, but have voted not to foot the bill.

Cllr Tony Cattermoul said: “We can’t possibly afford to pick up this tab as a town council – there’s scarcely a road in the town that doesn’t have a hill on it.

“We absolutely can’t afford it and I’m afraid people will just have to buy these £5 bags themselves and sprinkle it outside their homes.”

Holywell Town Council is also refusing to buy extra bins.

Town councillor Peter York said: “The local authority is responsible for providing salt and we look to it to provide a safe walking and driving environment in the county.”

Connah’s Quay County Councillor Bernie Attridge also hit out at the plans and said salt bins were the county council’s responsibility.

Fears have also been raised that thieves will steal the salt.

Mold councillor Joyce Jones said: “People are already coming up and loading the salt into the boots of their cars.”

Council chiefs are currently looking at installing “grit cams” on the bins in a bid to deter thieves.

During the big freeze last winter residents across the county were unable to leave their homes and highways bosses came under fire for not gritting the roads quickly enough.

Council bosses were hoping that charging town councils for salt would help keep the county moving this winter.

Cllr Tony Sharps, executive member for environment, said: “Flintshire Council worked hard last year keeping main roads clear – but problems arose with people not being able to get off the housing estates to reach the main roads.

"This was particularly so in rural areas where some roads became impassable, cutting off villages for days on end.

“Problems were exacerbated by the theft of salt bins by unscrupulous individuals and the overuse of salt by certain individuals meaning that others had none.

“Town and community councils will be asked if they want to buy additional salt bins – these will be a different colour to distinguish them from yellow council issue salt bins.

“There will be a charge for supply and maintenance and they will be filled subject to the availability of salt.”

Cllr Sharps said this type of joint funding arrangement would become more prominent as spending cuts hit.

He said: “The council is having to make unprecedented savings in the next few years but, at the same time, provide our residents with first class services.”

Existing salt bins, meeting the council’s criteria, will continue to be maintained and filled by Flintshire Council.

See full story in the Leader

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