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Fairfield is treacherous

From Rebecca Land Cave

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Whilst I realise we are all suffering with the snow and ice, spare a thought for the dark side of the valley. Like many areas of Hebden, Fairfield hasn’t seen grit for over a week now. Snow and ice take much longer to thaw without sun, and we have a higher than average proportion of elderly and vulnerable residents up here. If you live in a place like Blackshawhead, I imagine you expect to get snowed in from time to time, but if you live 5 mins from the co-op, you don’t have the same siege mentality.

There are particular safety issues around the single track bridge over the railway, which neither the council nor the police seem to be taking seriously.

Yesterday, many drivers and pedestrians ventured out thinking conditions were better, resulting in a 4 car pile up by the railway bridge. Cars are losing control here and having to go through when the lights are on red, endangering pedestrians who don’t even have a pavement to walk on. If the bridge gets hit, it has to be assessed by railtrack for damage and this could threaten the rail link.

I’ve had 6 separate telephone conversations this morning with the council and the police, who each say the other is responsible for assessing road safety, but both agree the road either needs gritting or closing in icy conditions. It seems crazy to be so close to the town centre and yet cut off!

Myself and neighbours have been fetching groceries for people we know who are simply unable to get down as far as the co-op, but I do wonder if everyone is getting the help they need. And I also wonder how long this situation will go on, with the snow thawing and freezing periodically (the ice took 3 weeks to melt last February). Here’s hoping for some rain, or even (miraculously) grit!

From Cllr Lesley Jones

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Just to let Fairfield residents know that I have been in touch with Calderdale Cllr Janet Battye in order to resolve this situation and to make the road safe and passable. Cllr Battye has just contacted me to let me know that the road has now been classed as a priority and will be gritted this afternoon. Fingers crossed with many thanks to Cllr Battye for being able to get round the Calderdale machine for us.

From Rebecca Land Cave

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Fantastic news. Thank you to all concerned. I tried the council, the police and even HB Times, but Hebweb should clearly have been my first port of call. Next problem, rubbish collection. Our food bin hasn’t been emptied for a month now. The Calderdale customer first helpline accidentally let it slip that the refuse collection staff have been at the pub since the collections were cancelled.. maybe they could have helped clear the roads and pavements instead? Presumably not part of SITA’s remit...

From Jenny Moult

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Can anyone tell me if the gritting has actually taken place on Shelf Road leading on to Palace House Road? Only I’ve just called the Highways Dept and they said it most definitely has not been done and I certainly did not think it had been gritted last night. Thanks.

From Cllr Lesley Jones

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Yes - the gritter appeared mid afternoon yesterday with a second gritter at 7:45 this morning. I confess to not having walked down Shelf Road today to assess the effectiveness but Palace House Road itself was soon fine and passable. Hope this helps.

From Cllr Janet Battye

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

I’m glad to hear that we managed to get Palace House Rd gritted yesterday afternoon and again this morning. I understand that Council Officers had a meeting yesterday morning when they re-prioritised gritting so that they started to grit roads like that which are vital linking roads for people.

I’ve also been chasing up making sure that the Council are gritting paths around the town centre which have been treacherous today because of black ice etc.

If people are having a problem getting a response from the Council, please contact myself, or Cllrs Fekri or O’Neill and we’ll do our best for you.

My home phone no is 01706 815292. If I’m not there, my husband is around much of the time (it is difficult to get out at the moment !) and will pass your message onto me.

Take care !

From Paul D

Thursday, 14 January 2010

I’m not naturally cynical (honest), maybe it’s age, I always associate Palace House Road with Watsons, wedding and the old abbatoir (OK - so it is age, I’m old).

Anyway - are we expecting credit here for getting something done that should have been done as a matter of course? I’m sure the good people on the dark side are happier than they were, but should they really be grateful for an intervention that allows them to get about their business without risking life and limb, or should they be fuming at an authority that clearly places so little value on their lives and limbs?

The question is, who agreed and implemented the policy? Who decided that the M62 - useful but not vital to most residents of Palace House Road - should get the grit and they get none? It’s no good blaming the weather when the policy is clear, displace costs; skimp on grit and then business, the NHS and local people will bear the cost.

I don’t want to be overly critical here, but having seen people fall flat on their face, with that sickening crack that reminds you how hard but how brittle bone is, shouldn’t Palace House Road, with its lack of sunlight in winter, been up there as a sensible place to spread a little salt? I’d suggest a little less back slapping, maybe take some dry kindling into your next council meeting and close your eyes as you all recreate the sound of a pensioner’s wrist being shattered. Our authority has shown how much it values local people. This is not ‘freak’ weather, it’s freak politics. When the nights closed in and the snow came, we were left on our own. Phone somebody and remind them of that, I’m too old to put up with this nonsense.

Well done though, three weeks in and some grit was applied. Though I can’t imagine a better example of hubris without thinking of Tony Benn at the Trades - we have a political class so removed from the people that it has no colour, no name, no shame - it just fails an declares victory. We should indeed ‘take care’.

From Cath G

Saturday, 16 January 2010

I would like to say a big thank you to the 2 councillors who have been instrumental in getting Palace House Road and Shelf Road gritted. I do not live on Palace House Road but know people who do I have also heard about people who live on this estate who have been unable to even walk to the local shops. The recent bad weather has caused lots of problems for lots of people especially the elderley and housebound. Councillors get a lot of bad press over things that are out of their control. They do not get enough praise when they do something that benefits the majority. These 2 ladies are willing to do all they can to help others even if that was only a few phone calls. I think that deserves a big thank you and a pat on the back