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Call for action on snow

January 6, 2010

Having toured the ward this afternoon I have sent this email to the relevant Council officers, setting out what I observed.

I have just been for a short tour of Surbiton Hill ward and have noticed that, while most major roads are clear thanks to gritting, many heavily populated and parked roads are anything but.

This is particularly the case in Oakhill, parts of Southborough and the Edwardian/Victorian terraced streets off Ditton Road such as Cotterill, Ellerton and Douglas Roads. The roads off these such as Dennan, Tolworth Park and Bond Roads are very icy. Bond Road is white with snow around the dangerous right angle bend local residents complained about in the last snow incident before Christmas. Few properties on these roads have garages, some have off-street parking but many cars are parked in the street, causing further hazards.

Additionally almost no footpaths showed signs of any clearing measures other than human feet. This includes roads around Oakhill which are used by pedestrians going to and from the station and the Oakhill Health Centre. Walpole Road’s pavements were still white with snow.

My concern is that it will shortly freeze, turning these footways into very hazardous ‘ice rinks’.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ian H permalink
    January 11, 2010 1:37 pm

    I saw elderly gentlemen slipping and really struggling to walk on the pavement coming out of Lovelace Gardens onto Brighton Road towards the bus stop/ped crossing/railway bridge, and was having trouble myself over the last few days. I wonder how many older people have stayed at home rather than risk slipping and breaking a hip on some of these treacherous pavements? The heavily used ones on pedestrian routes to Surbiton town centre are surely as important to clear/grit as the roads.

    What is Kingston BC’s policy/obligations regarding keeping busy footpaths clear?

    • January 11, 2010 4:59 pm

      Thank you for this Mr. Henderson. I absolutely agree with you, which is why I took the matter up last Wednesday and subsequently with Mr. Dickson. We will have to do better in future as a Council where the heavily used pavements are concerned.
      I grew up in the North, where people always used to clear snow from the pavements in front of their houses as a matter of course. I appreciate that this would be a problem in places like Lovelace with the large number of flats. However I was astonished to read in the paper the other day that people clearing snow from in front of their houses may be liable for damages if someoone subsequently slips on the pavement because they haven’t done a good enough job. Apparently, if you leave the pavement alone and someone falls you aren’t liable to a claim for injury, but if you try to clear it you may be! What a topsy-turvy world we have made for ourselves!

      You will get a fair idea of the Council’s current policy on clearing footpaths from Mr. Dickson’s reply to my email published on the home page.

  2. Ian H permalink
    January 13, 2010 1:53 pm

    Thanks Paul for your reply and posting Mr. Dickson’s response.

    As I understand it, bus routes are, relatively speaking, a priority for keeping clear. Surely it therefore makes sense that stretches of pavement in the vicinity of bus stops (like the one on Upper Brighton Road just before the railway bridge round the corner from Lovelace Gardens) are also kept clear? We need more joined-up thinking regarding transport. It’s no use keeping the bus routes clear if people are struggling to walk to the stops! Snow can get particularly compacted and icy on such busy stretches of pavement.

    Agree about it being ridiculous that residents could be sued for attempts to clear snow and ice – I hope that won’t put people off. I’m all for people taking more responsibility for their environment. It would create a better sense of community if people got together to do this sort of thing themselves, a good way to get to know your neighbours better, work off a few calories, cultivate a sense of civic pride/duty etc..

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