Published: January 11, 2011
Burnham-On-Sea councillors plan ahead for more heavy snowfall

Extra grit bins are to be introduced in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge in an effort by the town council to avoid more icy scenes like these in the future after heavy snowfall.

At a meeting on Monday evening (January 10th), town councillors considered their response to clearing ice and snow along Burnham's High Street during December following complaints from businesses and residents.

In addition to securing more grit bins, councillors are to approach the Chamber Of Trade groups in both Burnham and Highbridge to seek more help in keeping streets and pavements clear of snow and ice in the future.

Town Clerk Eileen Shaw told councillors at Monday's meeting: "Last month's snow came at a bad time. The heavy snowfall fell on a Friday when everyone had left the office and by Monday morning it had all frozen over. Spreading grit on frozen snow would do nothing to clear it."

"Our situation was not helped by the minimal supply of grit we received from the County Council and just one person, our handyman, being available. He found it difficult to get around due to the state of the roads, so we were left in a difficult position."

Cllr Ken Smout added: "They were extreme weather conditions last month, which left us with extreme circumstances. I have never seen the High Street in such a state, it was quite dangerous, but people have to take on responsibilities under such conditions. The council's policy is to help people to help themselves."

Cllr Neville Jones added: "There is some urgency about getting new plans in place considering we're only half way through the winter and more snow could come."

"We need to get prepared. Let's have a conversation with both Burnham and Highbridge Chamber of Trades to see whether their members could lend a hand next time."

Cllr Janet Keen added during Monday's meeting that a fresh look needs to be taken at the roads in Burnham that are on the county council's gritting routes.

"We need SCC to consider adding one road in particular to its priority gritting routes - Marine Drive. This is an essential route."

Cllr Joe Leach agreed, saying: "Marine Drive was an absolute disgrace - it was in a dangerous condition for days."

Cllr Mike Mansfield asked why snow in one area of Burnham High Street where the farmers' market was set up had been cleared so quickly during the week before Christmas.

"The rest of the High Street was left in a dangerous state, while the farmer's market stalls received special attention," he claimed.

But Mrs Shaw responded: "The farmers market team cleared the snow themselves with the help of the district council. The market was definitely not treated with a higher priority than the rest of the High Street."

Councillors agreed to seek to acquire four extra grit bins - two each for Burnham and Highbridge. first reported here how several businesses had been left financially reeling due to the pavements being turned into an 'ice rink' during what should have been the busiest shopping period of the year just before Christmas.


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