Residents blast back after grit thefts row

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

MEMBERS of the public are taking desperate measures to clear ice near their homes.

After heavy downpours overnight on Wednesday roads and pavements across the region were turned into “ice rinks”.

Mold councillor Joyce Jones, who lives in Oakwood Close, has been buying bags of grit to sprinkle and says she will send the bill to Flintshire Council.

She said: “I have kept my receipts and I’m going to deduct it out of my rates this year.

“People might say I shouldn’t do that because I’m a town councillor, but you have to draw the line somewhere.”

In Flintshire, workmen have filled up the salt bins once and bosses say they will not be refilling them again until January.

But Cllr Jones says bins on Oakwood Close and Beechwood Close have not even been filled up once.

Council chiefs in Wrexham and Flintshire say the grit supply is being severely hampered by thieves stealing it.

The Leader reported earlier this week how even the bins themselves had been loaded on to trucks and stolen from parts of Wrexham.

In Flintshire, council bosses are considering installing ‘grit cams’ in a bid to deter the raids.

But Leader readers commenting on our website sympathise with the people taking grit.

Most say they can understand why people are resorting to stealing as the roads and pavements are treacherous.

‘Welsh dragon’ said: “It’s wrong and dangerous for people to take the salt, but if the council do what we pay them to do in the first place this wouldn’t happen.

“My street for one wasn’t touched by the council and still remains icy.

“The nearest salt/grit was dumped in a pile on the pavement on the next street. So what do the council expect? People need the grit to put on their street to get out to work.”

‘Karen’ added: “People are desperate and it’s easy to see why when you see the state of side streets and roads.”

‘Anthony Cahill’ of Caia Park said the council should provide households with their own grit.

He said: “Makes a good case for supplying residents with individual bags of grit on an annual basis – saving money and lives.”

Wrexham Council says about 2,000 tonnes of grit has been spread across Wrexham’s road network already and gritting teams are out twice a day.

Steve Jones, Flintshire County Council's head of Streetscene said: “A large amount of rocksalt has been used on Flintshire's roads and footways during the current cold weather and stock levels are reduced.

“Fresh deliveries are, however, being received from the supplier and we are not expecting any shortages over the Christmas period.”

In a bid to keep the roads open the Welsh Assembly has announced extra funding for highway maintenance over the winter months.

Wrexham will receive £253,000 and Flintshire will get an additional £360,000.

See full story in the Leader

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