Council makes U-turn on plan to cut pavements gritters for local streets

Gritters will cover all villages in Angus this winter.
Gritters will cover all villages in Angus this winter.

Angus Council has performed a U-turn on a move to cut pavement gritting in the region’s rural villages.

In February, councillors approved halving the district’s mini gritter budget which would have meant no footway gritters for villages such as Sidlaw, Tealing and Muirdrum.

The move was designed to save the local authority £104,000.

Councillors previously warned that the proposals would have an impact on “the safety of the elderly, school children and disabled”.

At a meeting of the council this week, a motion tabled by councillor Mark Salmond was approved to ensure the footpaths would remain ice-free throughout the winter.

However, with the savings still to be made in the budget, the remaining resources will now be spread more thinly across the council area.

Three councillors – the SNP’s Kenny Braes and Bill Duff, and independent Brian Boyd – voted against the motion, with the rest of the elected members supporting it.

Sheila Hands, who represents Monifieth and Sidlaw, said that while she welcomed Tuesday’s motion, there would still be some reduction in service.

Gritters will cover all villages in Angus this winter.

She said: “The decision in February would have seen gritting taken away from the Muirhead and Birkhill areas in the ward. My concern was that there are 300 pupils going to Monifieth High School and also buses going along the A923 Coupar Angus Road – one of the worst routes in Angus for speeding.

“So, while obviously I am glad these areas will now be gritted, the savings are still to be made.

“We are seeing the resources we have spread thinner across the ground.

“I understand there are more people in the burgh towns in Angus, but by-and-large the glens and outlying rural areas have worse weather.

“We need to be making our decisions based on the need rather than simply the number of people, otherwise you end up with a postcode lottery.

“We, as with all public bodies, have difficult decisions to make.

“But I think ultimately that reduction in service could have been avoided if we had proper consultation on this.”

Council leader David Fairweather said: “Our job is to make sure that we prioritise our budgets. We believe we have achieved a compromise in these revised proposals for the year ahead.”