Drivers could be at risk of ‘injury or death’ if gritting row is not resolved, councillors claim

New Road between Ashwellthorpe and Tacolneston.

New Road between Ashwellthorpe and Tacolneston. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015

Drivers could be put at 'risk of injury or death' if a road gritting row is not resolved, parish councillors claim.

Ashwellthorpe and Fundenhall and Tacolneston Parish Councils have asked Norfolk County Council to grit New Road, a windy stretch of road which is used by school buses, during the coming wintry conditions.

But the county council says its squeezed budget means it is unable to add the road to its 2,000-mile gritting route - and has asked the two parishes to pay £7,200 to have it salted on a two-year contract.

The road is currently classed as priority three, routes only gritted in prolonged freezing weather when higher priority roads have been covered, and applications to have it upgraded have been unsuccessful.

Councillors say they are willing to pay but the proposed sum is more than half of its parish precept.

Instead they have offered £1,900 - but county councillors have insisted the £7,200, which would be split between the parishes, is the final offer.

Mark Holmes, vice-chairman of Tacolneston Parish Council, said: 'Three school buses go down that road every day. £7,200 is not a lot to pay if you are saving children's lives - but for two parish councils it is a huge sum of money.'

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He encouraged the county authority to monitor the road, which has seen fatal accidents during winter in recent years, to prove it should be upgraded.

Ashwellthorpe and Fundenhall councillors say that parishoners could be at 'risk of injury or death'if the issue is not resolved.

A county council spokesperson said: 'We know that this will be disappointing for the two parishes, but the county council cannot take on this extra length of road, even with a contribution to the cost, without giving the same consideration to the many other requests that have been made over recent years.

'At a time when the council is under such severe pressure on its budget this is simply not possible.'

Do you think New Road should be gritted? Email reporter Lauren Cope at lauren.cope@archant.co.uk