MORE THAN 1,000 people have put their names to a petition opposing plans to reduce the number of roads and pavements gritted during winter months in Sheffield.
Rural communities claim vulnerable residents could be left housebound if proposals to remove over 100 miles of routes are given the go-ahead.
About 200 grit bins will also be removed – with another 200 moved to more appropriate locations – in a bid to save £100,000 from the winter maintenance budget. Main roads and busy routes will remain unaffected.
Campaigners from west of the city, which stands to be worst-affected by the changes, submitted a 1,000-strong petition to Sheffield Council as consultations ended.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the MP for Sheffield Hallam, has accused the council of targeting areas of his constituency unfairly.
He said: “West Sheffield will receive the greatest reductions in service by far – despite being one of the areas that relies on a winter maintenance service the most.”
In the parish of Bradfield a campaign has been launched to urge the council to re-think its proposals, along with a separate online petition. Resident Keith Holmes described the proposals as “ridiculous”.
Coun Joe Otten, a member of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, said: “No-one denies that the council faces tough decisions, but local people have been clear that putting safety at risk is not the right way forward. We know there are other ways to make this saving.”
The measures would also see the council cease to recruit snow wardens, volunteers from communities who are trained and given equipment to help their areas cope when snow and ice hit.
The cabinet member for the environment, Coun Jack Scott, said: “It’s not true to say that some areas will be cut off or left isolated. In fact, we aren’t changing the main routes that we grit at all.
“If we could avoid these types of cuts, then we absolutely would.”