True Grit: Community groups asked to help during snows

LAST year heavy snow hit hard in late November and the council worked hard through the next six weeks or so to keep roads open.

This week, community groups across the borough will be receiving letters from the council asking whether they want to help.

The council is offering local organisations and groups the chance to help the council keep local roads and paths clear.

Cllr Val Morris-Cook, the council’s portfolio holder for Environment, said: “The council did brilliantly last year clearing the extreme levels of snowfall on our major roads and pavements.

“We have learned from the experience, we have listened to the concerns local people and this year we want to work with community groups to help them to clear the areas they represent.

“It won’t be perfect, but we do want to make things better. The council has to concentrate on the major routes; the town centres and the paths close to schools and medical facilities – now we are offering the chance for community-minded people to support our efforts.”

She added: “We know residents understand their own area best and are capable of making good decisions.

“The council can only do so much itself, but wants to make it easier for communities to help themselves.

“That is why I am encouraging all community groups to get involved and bid for their own winter maintenance kit – salt bins for their own neighbourhoods.”

Thurrock Council has set aside some funding in its winter maintenance budget for this pilot scheme. Not very area and not every road will be covered, but Cllr Morris-Cook said: “If this year’s experiment proves a success then we will be able to build on that success in winters to come.”

The locked bins will be controlled by the community group and residents will be able to request salt to be either distributed in an area or to take some salt and distribute it themselves.

Letters are being sent to a number of community groups this week, asking them to let the council know if they are interested in acquiring a salt bin.

The groups will need to meet certain criteria before they can be considered eligible and the salt can only be used to grit public streets.

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