Icy conditions have been causing issues for drivers and pedestrians across Thanet.
Despite primary route gritting by Kent Highways, many side roads and pavements have remained precarious with reports of people falling and vehicles sliding on the icy surfaces.
Thanet council, which is not responsible for gritting, has taken matters into hand with staff teams out gritting the main high streets, majority of car parks and slopes and steps of promenades. Staff from Ramsgate Town Council have also been out salting slippery areas.
In Ramsgate one youngster was spotted clearing the road of ice and the Bedford Inn boss was seen clearing a long stretch of path, in Margate a parked car was hit by a bus yesterday and another car today and in Birchington numerous pedestrians slid over in the high street. In Birchington former councillor Suzanne Brimm pulled on the Doc Martens to go out and see if she could help by salting pavements.
County Councillor Karen Constantine has written to authority leader Roger Gough to ask for more gritting.
She said: “The KCC gritting response isn’t strong enough in my division of Ramsgate. More needs to be done and quickly.
“I am, of course urging people not to make unnecessary journeys, whether by foot or by car. But for some people, they must venture out for essential supplies, food, medicines and so on. We have an elderly population and many residents with disabilities all of whom are at an disadvantage and additional risk in this extreme cold snap. Our roads and pavements are extremely icy. In particular we are a town built across hills, all roads lead down.
“I am hearing far too many reports of people hurting themselves, of damage to cars and in some cases to properties. I’m also hearing of older and disabled residents being directed to obtain salt out of salt bins to deal with pathways themselves. This isn’t acceptable to frail and elderly people.
“Most of Ramsgate is an ice rink. In particular there are no gritted paths – which are essential. Volunteers are cleaning streets but more needs to be done.
“In particular pathways along Percy Avenue, The Plains of Waterloo and Hollicondane Road are very treacherous and are much needed routes to the town centre.
“We know the problems a cold snap brings and we should be much better prepared. In advance of a proposed Kent County Council tax rise from 4% to 5% at the budget, many residents are perplexed at how existing money is being spent, let alone any new money! I’m also concerned that KCC are telling people not to clear their own pavements and shopfronts. Ramsgate keeps getting left behind. It’s just not good enough.”
Cabinet member at KCC for highways Michael Payne says “all primary routes, including Ramsgate, have been treated at least five times since Saturday with ample quantities of salt. In addition, today local teams (have been) targeting specific areas based on their local plans.”