Village fears gritting cuts

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Villagers fear plans to slash gritting will leave them isolated and are calling on the council to change its plans.

Over 50 residents from Middleton-by-Wirksworth packed in to the village hall to discuss Derbyshire County Council’s proposals for tackling the winter weather – amid claims the authority is trying to save £1million.

The council has outlined plans to prioritise roads on its gritting network and have downgraded some villages to ‘secondary networks’.

This means they would be only treated in the day with the first run being completed by mid-morning.

But residents fear roads will be neglected, people will not be able to get to work and buses will be unable to travel in to Middleton – one of the steepest villages in Derbyshire.

Councillor and resident Peter Slack said feelings were running high during the meeting on Friday.

He added: “I think this is a cut too far by a long way.

“Buses start running at 6.30am and obviously if the roads haven’t been gritted over night they will be unable to get in to the village.

“The bus company has said if the roads aren’t treated, they won’t come up.

“We had gritting over night last year and it was still really bad so if there isn’t any gritting it will be chaos.”

The county council exceeded its budget last winter by £1million and spent £4.5million and is now facing budget restraints.

It needs to cut its spending by £90 million over the next four years.

Labour Derbyshire county councillor Anne Western has accused the Conservative council of cutting its winter service budget from £3.5million to £2.5million.

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