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Man accuses council Hertfordshire County Council of failure to act over 'ice rink' bridge
5:22pm Friday 14th February 2014 in News
A man has accused the council of speaking “gobbledegoo” after it failed to grit a “lethal” section of pavement.
When Tony de Swarte complained to Hertfordshire County Council that Allum Bridge in Borehamwood was left like a “sheet of ice” in cold weather, the council explained its priority was keeping main roads clear and it would concentrate on “priority” footpaths like Allum Bridge once these were done.
The authority told Mr de Swarte, of Nash Close, Elstree, that it was obliged to ensure "so as far as is reasonably practical that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice" but lack of resources meant some pavements could not be treated and making an exception would set a dangerous precedent.
Mr de Swarte said the response is “gobbledegoo” and accused the council of “hiding behind jargon”.
He said: “This excuse has been dreamed up by someone who obviously does not have to walk from Elstree to Borehamwood or the station.
“The bridge is metal so it freezes easily and when it does it is like an ice rink. There is no other way between Elstree and Borehamwood, so pedestrians have to cross it. You cannot walk on the kerb because there is a high wall in between.
“I use the bridge all the time and have seen people slip and fall. How long before someone is seriously injured? In previous years when icy it is gritted long after most other pavements around Shenley Road. This should be a priority for the council and it should free up resources to grit it.”
Mr de Swarte said there had been a grit bin at the site in the past, meaning people could spread salt themselves when necessary, but it had disappeared and called for it to be reinstated.
A Hertfordshire County Council spokesman said: “During cold weather our priority is keeping the main roads in the county as safe as possible, which is a huge task. On each salting run we cover more than 1,500 miles of roads.
"Once main roads are clear, we can then direct resources to salting pavements. We also supply salt to district, borough and parish councils and community groups to help keep key routes, particularly pavements in town centres, safer during cold spells. The footpath on Allum Road Bridge is a high priority footpath, which means it will be salted once the main roads are cleared.
"It is simply not possible to salt all roads and pavements throughout the county and we actively encourage a degree of self-help from residents.”