Waltham Forest Council criticised for not preparing roads for snow fall

Bishop's Close in Walthamstow was still icy on Wednesday

Bishop's Close in Walthamstow was still icy on Wednesday

First published in Waltham Forest by

WALTHAM Forest Council has been criticised for failing to prepare adequately for heavy snowfall, despite a severe weather warning.

Heavy snowfall during rush hour on Monday led to travel chaos, with many cars sliding off the road and people slipping on icy pavements.

Conservative group leader, Cllr Matt Davis, said he was caught in the traffic “shambles” and claims the council did not act quickly enough despite prior warnings.

He said: “They need to explain why they did not pre-empt the weather by sending the gritters out before rush hour. Sending them out when the traffic was already in chaos was too little too late.

“To add insult to injury if the public wanted to grit the roads themselves they would find most grit boxes in the borough empty. We have a year to be prepared for winter so why has the council failed so totally to take basic, common sense, precautions to safeguard our residents?”

Labour councillor Cllr Saima Mahmud, said: “I am absolutely appalled by the lack of gritting of the roads and pavements. I was promised that lessons would be learned from last year's events and this year we would be more prepared to deal with the ice and snow.”

Russell Hurley, 31, of Warren Road, Chingford, said he witnessed several cars coming off the road in King's Head Hill on his way home from work, a double-decker bus sliding across the road and an elderly woman lying in the snow with a broken arm after slipping on the pavement.

He said: “She had been lying there for 45 minutes and an ambulance hadn't arrived, so I went to the police and fire stations. This should not happen in a civilised country.

"There was absolute chaos, cars were slipping and sliding all over the place. I blame the council for not gritting the roads properly."

A spokeswoman for East of England Ambulance Service said they received reports of a woman with an injured arm after falling in Kings Head Hill at 7.45pm, but it was not classed as a priority because it was not considered life-threatening.

A council spokesman said its six gritters were out in the morning, prioritising hospitals, fire stations, bus garages and stations, then hilly routes, main traffic routes and finally, secondary routes and minor roads.

Waltham Forest Council's cabinet member for environment, Cllr Bob Belam, said: "Following exceptional levels of snow during a short period of time, our staff worked round the clock on Monday to minimise the disruption."

Comments (8)

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11:13am Thu 24 Dec 09

Pamella says...

Why dont they at least put grit bins at the top of side roads so we can sort ourselves out. This council cant do anything properly, they could at least let us have the tools to do the job ourselves!
Why dont they at least put grit bins at the top of side roads so we can sort ourselves out. This council cant do anything properly, they could at least let us have the tools to do the job ourselves! Pamella
  • Score: 0

11:18am Thu 24 Dec 09

Touchwood says...

With this Council, and it's record, this article comes as no surprise! Who listens to 'Barmy Belam' anyway!!
With this Council, and it's record, this article comes as no surprise! Who listens to 'Barmy Belam' anyway!! Touchwood
  • Score: 0

11:56am Thu 24 Dec 09

Panoptes says...

The embarrassing faux ice-rink on the Arcade 'triangle' has been dismantled thank goodness but we have real ice-rinks on the streets instead. Welcome to the land of Topsy Turvy!
The embarrassing faux ice-rink on the Arcade 'triangle' has been dismantled thank goodness but we have real ice-rinks on the streets instead. Welcome to the land of Topsy Turvy! Panoptes
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Thu 24 Dec 09

franks says...

I tell you what Belam, why don't you spare us the excuses, the very same that were rolled out last February.
It is the responsibility of the council to grit the roads, you failed. An apology would me more apt. Your staff worked round the clock? Which clock? Didn't see them near where I live, covered in ice until it melted naturally. Full of ****.
If an elderly lady freezing to death on the pavement, probably in shock, is not a priority that is shameful.
I tell you what Belam, why don't you spare us the excuses, the very same that were rolled out last February. It is the responsibility of the council to grit the roads, you failed. An apology would me more apt. Your staff worked round the clock? Which clock? Didn't see them near where I live, covered in ice until it melted naturally. Full of ****. If an elderly lady freezing to death on the pavement, probably in shock, is not a priority that is shameful. franks
  • Score: 0

1:34pm Thu 24 Dec 09

Sigi from Walthamstow says...

The Council did not even manage to grit main foot ways, bus stops and steep hills - And that's their priority!!
Why were Kier's street sweepers not out and about gritting our roads?

This shameful incompetence damages not only our businesses but also the health of elderly residents who did not dare to go out andtherefore missed doctors and hospital appointments.
And I was afraid to fall too and I am not elderly at all.
Church Hill was a dangerzone. Church Lane (a bus route and a busy commuter short cut) a sheet of ice.
Footpaths were not gritted at all. Don't we pedestrians count??? We are green and don't use cars - but our needs are ignored.
And what infuriates me most - we had exactly the same problems in February 09 here in our area!
The Council did not even manage to grit main foot ways, bus stops and steep hills - And that's their priority!! Why were Kier's street sweepers not out and about gritting our roads? This shameful incompetence damages not only our businesses but also the health of elderly residents who did not dare to go out andtherefore missed doctors and hospital appointments. And I was afraid to fall too and I am not elderly at all. Church Hill was a dangerzone. Church Lane (a bus route and a busy commuter short cut) a sheet of ice. Footpaths were not gritted at all. Don't we pedestrians count??? We are green and don't use cars - but our needs are ignored. And what infuriates me most - we had exactly the same problems in February 09 here in our area! Sigi from Walthamstow
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Thu 24 Dec 09

G. Tingey says...

Good old LBWF.
Terminally incompetent.
Again.
Good old LBWF. Terminally incompetent. Again. G. Tingey
  • Score: 0

8:02pm Thu 24 Dec 09

Redfox says...

Let it not go without severe censure of the council Highways management- a complete waste of time & our money on spreading a full truck load of grit on the frontage of The Mall yesterday 23rd when the weather forecast was for rain !
Come today it was just like crunching across a sandy beach.

The 1st Community Council meeting of 2010 is 11th January Chapel End School (West Walthamstow) Who is going to give the council officers present a 'roasting' ?
Let it not go without severe censure of the council Highways management- a complete waste of time & our money on spreading a full truck load of grit on the frontage of The Mall yesterday 23rd when the weather forecast was for rain ! Come today it was just like crunching across a sandy beach. The 1st Community Council meeting of 2010 is 11th January Chapel End School (West Walthamstow) Who is going to give the council officers present a 'roasting' ? Redfox
  • Score: 0

11:19pm Thu 24 Dec 09

ceegriffin says...

Redfox wrote:
Let it not go without severe censure of the council Highways management- a complete waste of time & our money on spreading a full truck load of grit on the frontage of The Mall yesterday 23rd when the weather forecast was for rain !
Come today it was just like crunching across a sandy beach.

The 1st Community Council meeting of 2010 is 11th January Chapel End School (West Walthamstow) Who is going to give the council officers present a 'roasting' ?
I'll be there. No-one shuts me up!
[quote][p][bold]Redfox[/bold] wrote: Let it not go without severe censure of the council Highways management- a complete waste of time & our money on spreading a full truck load of grit on the frontage of The Mall yesterday 23rd when the weather forecast was for rain ! Come today it was just like crunching across a sandy beach. The 1st Community Council meeting of 2010 is 11th January Chapel End School (West Walthamstow) Who is going to give the council officers present a 'roasting' ?[/p][/quote]I'll be there. No-one shuts me up! ceegriffin
  • Score: 0

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