Anger at lack of gritting during adverse weather

A Northumberland County Council gritter.
A Northumberland County Council gritter.

Parish councillors agreed to write to the county council to complain formally about the state of Wooler’s roads during the recent snow and ice.

Many of their complaints, which were aired at Monday night’s meeting of Wooler Parish Council, related to one particular morning when north Northumberland was hit by heavy snowfall.

An initial email to Northumberland County Council to raise concerns did receive a response, referring to the definitive map of priority routes which are gritted first.

Coun Mark Mather, who works as a contractor clearing snow for the council, but only when he gets an official go-ahead, said: “I spoke to the highways department and they said they could not allocate any men to Wooler. I rang again at 8am and all the men had been allocated.

“I thought we had already spoken to the county and worked through maps, but they haven’t listened.”

Coun Brian Patterson added: “It was a case of who at county is getting the messages, because no one was turning up.”

However, it is clear that there has been some talking at cross-purposes about roads or footpaths, so Bob Hodgson, the county council’s area manager for neighbourhood services, is to be contacted.

Winter helpline now operational

Wooler Parish Council now has a phone number which can be contacted by those in need during periods of snow and ice.

In previous years, the council has set up a snow plan with the aim of clearing paths, etc, in the case of adverse weather.

It was felt that this was quite onerous and the number of volunteers had dwindled, so the idea of a winter helpline was born.

It is aimed at supporting elderly or vulnerable people who may need someone to get them some groceries, collect medication or help them to an appointment.

The number is 07464 346750 and posters will be displayed to advertise it around Wooler.