Councillors’ anger over gritting issues

Photographer Ian Georgeson, 07921 567360'Snow, weather, Penicuik, Midlothian Gritters spreading grit salt
Photographer Ian Georgeson, 07921 567360'Snow, weather, Penicuik, Midlothian Gritters spreading grit salt

Scottish Borders Council has insisted it followed the normal procedures of its winter service plan, despite facing criticism over the treacherous state of untreated icy roads and pavements on Monday morning.

Members of the public took to social media to express their anger about the difficulties they experienced in the wake of Sunday’s heavy snowfalls – and their concerns were shared by councillors.

Councillor Rory Stewart said the situation in Jedburgh was “little less than shocking”.

He had been contacted by a constituent who told him: “I have just returned from Jedburgh town centre where the streets and pavement are an absolute disgrace due to the complete lack of gritting.

“I watched elderly people struggling to and from the Co-op in High Street and things are no better in the areas away from the centre. I can assure you there are some very angry Jedburgh residents voicing their displeasure in no uncertain terms.”

Councillor Stewart emailed SBC’s chief executive (place) Philip Barr midmorning and told him: “There needs to be people on the ground in Jedburgh as soon as possible to make the town and surrounding area safe.”

“I travelled to Appletreehall [near Hawick] this morning and the A698 [Cleikum Inn to Hawick] is a disgrace,” he added.

In Hawick, Councillor Stuart Marshall (Ind) was also demanding action.

“The footpaths in Hawick are treacherous and the council needs to get salting them and our roads much quicker,” he said. “I have been inundated with calls from concerned residents.”

A spokesperson for SBC said roads and footways had been treated in accordance with the protocol of the winter service plan.

“Weather conditions over the weekend meant snow which fell across the Borders turned to ice as temperatures dropped to the coldest in the region so far this winter, making some difficult conditions for drivers and pedestrians,” said the spokesperson.

“Primary roads were gritted from 4pm on Sunday and the primary network of roads and pavements was treated again from 6am onwards on Monday. Gritting again took place on Monday at 3.30pm and 6pm.

“Thereafter, secondary roads and all other footways are treated, subject to the availability of resources.”

Both Jedburgh town and the A698 are designated as “primary routes”.