Call for more gritting of Thanet’s ‘ice rink’ roads and pavements

Addington Street Photo by Ian Shacklock

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.

Photo by Ian Shacklock

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.

Addington Street Photo by Ian Shacklock

“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.

Addington Street Photo by Ian Shacklock

“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.”

Photo by Ian Shacklock
Ramsgate resident Ian Shacklock is calling for dangerous roads to be closed. He explained that he reported a road after witnessing several near misses,
He said: “Cars and vans were unable to stop at a junction with busy West Cliff Road. I suggested that KCC should close the end of Addington Street. The icy situation meant vans were going out of control.
“I didn’t ask for any gritting or intensive effort; just an emergency road closure. How dangerous must a hazard become before it is taken seriously?”
Ramsgate District Councillor Becky Wing has raised her concerns, adding:“No-one can say we were not warned about the snow and ice to hit Kent and Thanet and along with most locals we just can not see where KCC have applied grit in Thanet.
Photo by Ian Shacklock
“Locals reported movie like footage of car, vans and lorries skidding off Elms Avenue and Addington Street straight onto the busy Westcliff Road. We were lucky no one was seriously hurt. I reported Addington Street on Monday evening to KCC and was told a crew would be out within two hours, we are still waiting. I am aware we have no money and that Kent is a massive area but continue to feel Thanet is often overlooked and left till last. We are now into day three, so just where is our gritting service?”
Thanet council said: “Having had snow and freezing conditions for two days, the roads and pavements are very slippery. People should be staying at home for everything except essential journeys however, if people do have to go out, we would urge them to take the utmost care.

“KCC Highways is responsible for gritting roads however we have deployed Thanet District Council officers to undertake supplementary gritting in public spaces. Thanet has hundreds of miles of paths and pavements so we cannot cover all areas.  Our Civil Enforcement Officers, from the parking team have been out and have gritted all car parks except Minnis Bay, St Mildred’s and Broadstairs Harbour which will be done in the coming days by the Minor Works team.
“There has also been some gritting of pavements around Pay and Display bays in Margate High Street, Broadstairs High Street as well as Queen Street and Leopold Street, Ramsgate. The Open Spaces team with the help of our Street Cleansing staff, has assisted where possible to grit main high street areas. Work is also being done to grit steps and slopes of the Promenades.”

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.”


  1. This has been going on for years alrough we haven’t had this for a while they always only do primary roads residents pay council tax KCC and TDC should work together and do as many residential roads as possible use the local cleansing teams and get out there and salt all roads. I live in a road alongside Morrisons in Margate it’s like an ice rink it seems they have forgot that it is a major road as well as many cars drive along my road to get in to the top level entrance in to the car park.

  2. Yes, thanks to Kent Highways from all the Children who have been unable to go to school.
    As a Transport Operator taking SEN children and Key Worker/ Vulnerable children to school this has really helped them.
    And us, we do not get paid if the School Run doesnt take place due to snow, so this has really helped in what has already been a dreadful year.
    And no doubt a big thank you from all the elderly people who have fallen over, I have seen and helped numerous in Broadstairs since Sunday, I think they will be extremely grateful for you gritting the roads LAST WEDNESDAY, IN THE RAIN!!!

  3. Once upon a time, people took it upon themselves to turn out with shovels, spades and brooms and at least clear the snow from the pavement outside their house.
    Not any more.
    In my street, only one bit of pavement has been cleared. The rest is like a skating rink.

    • I salted outside our house if only to give 1 the poor postman, the older person a small rest to be able to at least stand on their feet for a while, then they can then start walking again and yes if we all did it like we used to have to clean outside our parents when we were kids, and we then went and did the old peoples near us because they had no one to do it for them. God forbid a child/teenager would be seen to do it nowadays it would be called child labour. please all do outside your homes

      • No it wouldn’t be called child labour. Most people would be pleased to see a teenager doung something helpful.

    • In fact this is compulsory in Germany or was! I grew up in the 40’s and 50’s and local councils used to pay unemployed builders to clear snow from pavements, because they had shovels! There are 84 houses in my road, and like me many are elderly people who depend on Meals on Wheels! My chap who brings me mine every day, managed to reach me yesterday, but when he stopped, his car continued sliding down the road!

      I slipped over going for essential shopping, Wild Bird seed! I have 12 or 15 sparrows, 2 ring necked doves, 2 wood pigeons, a robin, and one solitary pigeon who depend on me, and I only have one more days worth of seed left!

    • Please give references confirming that you can be sued if someone slips on the pavement after you’ve cleared the pavement. I’ve always cleared it when there’s been a snowfall- I think everybody should do so, and salt the strip they’ve cleared.

      • I think you can be sued but never heard of anyone being done in my 65 years and I always cleaned my neighbours and mine.

        You can clear snow and ice from pavements yourself. It’s unlikely that you’ll be sued or held responsible if someone is injured on a path or pavement if you’ve cleared it carefully.
        How to clear snow and ice

        When you clear snow and ice:

        do it early in the day – it’s easier to move fresh, loose snow
        don’t use water – it might refreeze and turn to black ice
        use salt if possible – it will melt the ice or snow and stop it from refreezing overnight (but don’t use the salt from salting bins as this is used to keep roads clear)
        you can use ash and sand if you don’t have enough salt – it will provide grip underfoot
        pay extra attention when clearing steps and steep pathways – using more salt may help

    • Anyone can sue you for anything anytime.
      Whether they will suceed is a different kettle of fish.
      This notion that residents doing their bit for the neighbourhood could be sued, should someone fall over, was a bit of fake news put out by a newspaper decades ago, and has done huge damage.
      You’ll only be liable if you make the situation worse (for example by pouring boiling water on the snow, then leaving it overnight to freeze). If you sweep or shovel the snow away before it’s compacted into ice, then chuck a bit of salt down, the job’s a good’n.
      The only bit of pavement that’s safe to walk on in my street is outside my house, where I cleared it.
      In some countries (USA springs to mind) there is a legal requirement for residents to clear snow from the sidewalk.
      It’s also worth bearing in mind that when there’s been snow and ice, we each have a responsibility for ourselves: as reasonable people, we must expect in these circumstances that pavements *will* be slippery, and exercise appropriate caution.
      The link below to a government web site makes clear the situation.

  4. Some things just haven’t been thought through properly. A good example is the Covid Testing Centre in Birchington: the pavements outside have been gritted and cleared, yet the public car park just around the corner is like a skating rink, making the short 3 minute stroll from there to get tested very treacherous indeed!

    (At least this was the situation when I walked past yesterday – apologies if it has been rectified!).

  5. Its a fuxkin disgrace. TDC, KCC, absolutely useless c*nts. GRIT THE FUXING ROADS YOU C*NTS! this is the highest council tax I’ve ever paid in my life, they don’t collect rubbish, the don’t grit the roads, what are we paying for?

    I drove from Margate to Hastings yesterday. The roads, even the motorways, not gritted at all the whole way back in two different routes. The primary roads haven’t been gritted either, its just traffic heat thats melted it.
    I knew the snow and ice was coming weeks ago, so did they and everyone else. There is absolutely no excuse. BOYCOT COUNCIL TAX!

    • Agree wholeheartedly! Unfortunately people like Phyllis would rather be pathetic & complain about something COMPLETELY UNIMPORTANT like your language (which you’ve censored anyway) & ignore the content of the article completely!

      Get your priorities right Phyllis, FFS!

    • I agree, I’m not paying £20 quid of mine for Feb now, cos they always used to grit most roads. KCC told me this morning where the grit bins in Cliftonville are, but they’ve gone. I phoned back and told them, and they said “we can’t help then, that’s what’s on our system”. I rang Tanet Council and they said “we don’t deal with that, sorry if that’s what KCC have told you. Is girt expensive? to be honest, I don’t know.

    • The bus routes and main roads in Ramsgate have been gritted. The pavements in Ramsgate’s town centre have been gritted.

  6. Just moved down from London. Pay more council tax here but the services here are woeful. Streets are rotten dirty and only swept in Town centre or Westwood. Main roads gritted but no where else?

  7. Broadstairs today the high street pavements were being gritted by the lovely council gardeners , well done to them , thank you.

  8. I walked down to the town centre about 10 min for an old git because I needed the bank
    Hardres Street was clear because of traffic, Broad St was also clear as was the High Street. However no side streets had been gritted at all and the car park in Staffordshire St was an ice rink. I did notice somebody spreading sand or something similar at the bottom of Staffordshire St. Whoever it was would not win any prizes for effort.

  9. A large percentage of folk already feel that Ramsgate is at the bottom of TDCs list of priorities. KCC’s suprise and shock at there being snow during the winter left them impotent, so leaving Thanet untreated just enforces that feeling of isolation. Remember the head of KCC is on over £200,000. I don’t think the cold really bothers him, apparently neither does most of Thanet.

  10. Yes I’m with you moodswing I could not have put it better myself. Ramsgate Town Council wasted £10,000 on a non event judicial review some months ago that amount of money would have paid for a lot of salt. I cleaned snow away outside our house and used dish washer salt on the road and path. If anyone falls over outside our house it will because they are drunk.

    • RTC very wisely contributed to the JR about Manston Airport.
      Snow and ice we have for a few days once every few years. A cargo hub would be 24x7x365.

  11. Im a community carer and two teams at my company got stuck on the hill leading to cobbs place at the back of margate police station one of our cars spun round and was facing the wrong way up the one way road and almost crashed in to another because of tbe black ice all down that road as well as my work partner having to have her hand break and foot break on at the same time other wise we would have done the same thing in the end the police came out 4 of them plus a resident and a manager at the residential assisted living building behind the police station were helping us by gritting the roads themselves more needs to be done not just main roads

  12. All major routes? I’m in Ramsgate the loop goes past my house, I’d class that as a major route, but it’s not been gritted!!

  13. Let’s face it, it’s not just one place in thanet it’s every town / village apart from broadstairs, it’s always clean, cash is no object if it needs doing its done, when was the last time you have seen a machine cleaning the streets not even the leaves get cleaned up just left on the paths, l could keep listing more but l think you got the idea ,

    • Ramsgate has an excellent (but small) team of street sweepers. They’ve out in all weathers (including the past few days of ice and snow) cleaning up the rubbish that *we* leave.

    • We walked along Church Street, St. Peter’s, and the drains there haven’t been cleaned out for years. The heavy rain caused a flood over the pavement that washed out of the gutter on to the path a load of small gravel pieces. By default,a few metres of pavement were gritted!

      In parts of Broadstairs we never see a road sweeper although there is one who does parts of St. Peter’s village and a patch of Beacon Road as far as Grange Road. Nothing further than that.

      • This is a cause and effect issue. KCC cut back on sweeping the roads. The drains block and they have to then unblock them placing temporary traffic management in place when carrying out the fix. Give it a few years and repeat the process. If KCC Swept the roads properly we wouldn’t have as many blocked drains. They are pushing the problem down the line to save money. But have they crunched the numbers to see if it really pays to work this way?

  14. If companies took money took for services and did not supply them they would be called fraudsters yet our Councils take our money and don’t give us the service we are paying for. Yesterday between 8am and 8 pm 25 people needed local hospital treatment for ice related accidents. GRIT THE STREETS -STOP ACCIDENTS-SAVE THE NHS

  15. Ive also complained about the state of icy roads in thanet to tory kcc. On Thursday if the tories get their way , your council tax will be going up by 5 per more for less services

    • Perhaps you have a weather machine?

      Perhaps a complaint also needs to be made against you for being a hypocrite. Accepting hard earned tax payers money from KCC and then wasting it by donating to charity, when your colleagues refused to accept the money. KCC even said they couldn’t afford it.

      You can’t batter the county council for one thing, then be a hypocrite when you done exactly the same. You’re precisely why Labour won’t ever get power again.

  16. This sort of story appears every time it snows.The UK struggles to cope with snow and this is the case here.
    These are the facts. KCC is struggling to keep roads clear.Snow can be a temporary problem, but when it freezes it is a menace.
    KCC is concentrating on keeping the main roads salted,I cannot comment on whether East Kent or Thanet has received less than it fair share or an adequate share of the salt treatment.What I do know is that TDC and RTC who have no responsibility whatsoever, to apply road salt on streets and pavements, have sent teams out to salt and grit the roads in Ramsgate and Thanet.
    RTC bought its own salt bin and I made sure that all our limited amount of kit was made ready, prior to the storm.
    KCC delivered some salt last year and we used that salt and what remained of 2019’s salt delivery,till we ran out. TDC have done the same.
    TDC is running trucks over to Sandwich and is supplying RTC as well as its own teams with salt.The ‘salt’ does look like sand because it is a mixture of salt and grit.
    Most of the Town Centre is done, as is Abbots Hill, we will move on to the other areas salt supplies allowing.
    So to be fair KCC,TDC,+ RTC, are cooperating.
    Clearing snow does not leave you liable to being sued, as long as you do it in a sensible way by using salt not hot water etc.
    As for being angry and calling people names in an unpleasant misogynist manner, does that achieve anything or encourage Council staff to work harder? Probably not!
    RTC staff were out there in the snow in their bright orange hi-viz jackets with the green RTC electric vehicle with Ramsgate Town Council written on it in big white letters,but perhaps the reporter did not visit the streets where they were operating.
    So, yes parts of the town are badly affected, but not for the want of effort by TDC and RTC.

    • You are always welcome to let me know what RTC is doing. I can’t visit every street in Thanet, covid restrictions and icy roads being among the reasons for that. The report already said TDC had a team out and that KCC had done primary routes. I have added RTC to that list.

      • The good news is we have more salt and we have spread out from the centre and are doing more streets, including Addington Street.
        I cannot guarantee that we can be everywhere but contact me through the contact page of the RTC website and I will see what I can do.

  17. Bill
    Are you standing for council next time I hope you are as you can clearly do better than the ones at the minute !

    We have snow once or twice a decade, we are in the middle of a pandemic. Council are short on staff due to shielding, or self isolating or worse have covid19.
    You are only allowed out for food, medicine or work so less cars on the road to breakdown the salt and keep the roads clear.

    It’s going to last a week people should have bought a few more loads and milk !

    As I kid in the 70’s this is how I remember the winters , lots of snow, sliding down the pavements and road on our way to school. Cars stuck in snow.

    So many people just like to moan dont they Bill ? That’s all people seem to do in thanet is moan !

    If the council spent 10s thousands of stocking salt and it didnt snow for years you would be moaning about the council stockpiling salt wouldnt you Bill.

    The council cant win with these type of people so put your money where your mouth is Bill get elected and show us what a wonderful job you can do. And get the joke of an airport open lol and than pigs might fly.
    Everyone within the air industry knows manston is a none starter but you keep believing in it !

  18. There should be a large container full of grit situated in towns around the thanet region for public to self grit their pavements – but then again any type of bin is in short supply round thanet hence the amount of rubbish on floor everywhere I’m sure volunteers would be out there gritting if it was readily available

  19. I can’t go to work this week.
    It is like a ice rink at palmbay.
    I had a knee Replacement in 2019, I’m just to scared Togo outside with the ice.
    It’s a good fifteen minutes to a bus stop.

    • And it works. I mentioned on FB to Chris Barton that Cliff Street was still icy and dangerous on Thursday evening. On Friday evening I saw it had been gritted on the pavement and the road. RTC did a fantastic job gritting pavements and side streets off the High Street on Thursday. Cannot fault how it always looks after us.

  20. The reality is we have very little snow. Its not Finland where investment in masses of snow clearing tech is financially viable. 48 hrs since people began moaning and most places are now clear unless its a shaded area. With the existing gritters i doubt if they would get to every road before it cleared. When i was a child a foot deep laywr of the white stuff was not unusual, we just got on with it.

  21. We hear the same excuses for inconvenience for not doing what our Councils should be doing. ( it only happens once every ten years) Or ( we are in a pandemic) Or (Staff are self isolating) Or ( it’s Covid fault ) Or (it’s climate Change)
    Or ( it’s not our responsibility) Or ( we cant be everywhere at the same time) Any excuse to avoid doing the right thing to show a duty of care to the residents who pay to keep the excuses makers in a well paid jobs.
    Moan free zone. I have been asked to stand for council a number of times over the years. Unfortunately I have an allergic condition that when I get near councillors of all parties I come out is a rash. It’s medical term is called nearBSmakerstoxcity.

    • Bill

      So you suffer from BSmakerstoxcity. In other words its easier to sit behind a keyboard and moan.

      As we would say all talk and no action.

      So that’s get this right

      Pandemic = excuse
      Self isolating = excuse
      Having covid19 = excuse
      Lockdown = excuse
      Snow = excuse, even though it only shows about 2 weeks in a decade ! You expect every street and pathway to be cleared within 24 hrs of snow fall. You moan about TDC & RTC even though it’s not down to them to keep the roads and pathway clear.

      Bill you just like to sit behind your keyboard warrior and moan and moan , to be honest its abit boring !

  22. If, instead of typing up their comments on IoTN, people went into the street and bellowed their opinions and advice at the tops of their voices, so much hot air would be generated that the ice and snow would soon be gone.
    They might turn out with a broom and shovel, and spend a couple of minutes clearing snow from the pavement outside their houses. It would be a great help.

  23. Ha ha Moan Free Zone. You must have a mirror in your place it might be educational for you to look in the mirror and take in the hypocrisy and irony. The pandemic is being used by many as a very convenient wall to hide behind our Councils were the first to hide there followed by many others. True Opinion Zone.

  24. Is everyone sure the non gritting is about money, it seems odd this year in particular with the lockdown that this Govt want to keep us in doors, damn dictatorship. They overlooked one thing or didn’t, in that anyone falling seriously will end up in hospital and burden the already NHS. Wake up people.

  25. The local councils have been gritting the roads. The government hasn’t managed to keep everyone indoors at all- and it doesn’t want to-it’s only to keen of getting the economy going properly. Not recognizable as a dictatorship, our current government, whatever its fantasies are.

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