Gritting and potholes problems discussed

COUNCIL roads officers Charles Clemie and Colin Forbes were all ready for a bumpy ride on Monday night when they attended the Cree Valley Community Council meeting to discuss the council’s winter service programme.

Members were ready to pounce with a list of complaints from roads not being gritted to roads being gritted when it was allegedly not necessary to the favourite complaint nationwide – potholes.

Regarding gritting Mr Clemie explained that the council’s gritters targeted one third of the regions ‘front line’ roads when temperatures dropped.

After that the ‘second line’ of roads were treated - taking the level of roads gritted to 50 per cent.

CVCC member Clifford Smithers drew the officers’ attention to Slaughterhouse Road, a steep hill in the town that leads down to the Riverside Industrial Estate.

He said he had repeatedly asked during the bad weather for the road to be gritted.

“There are 17 or 18 businesses there,” he reasoned.

Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes told the officers that the people of Newton Stewart and Minnigaff were “let down” by the council when freak and localised weather conditions hit the town from the 16th to 19th December 2011.

He said that the council had done “a superb job” on the Friday but had not maintained that level of standard over the weekend and into the Monday when “Minnigaff turned into a no-go area as you could not walk on the pavements and buses were disgorging passengers onto a sheet of ice out there (Dashwood Square)”.

“I want assurances it won’t happen again”, Councillor Geddes stated.

Community Council member Tom Greenaway asked who assessed what roads take priority?

Charles Clemie said that “a team” met annually to review the local routes where they took on board comments received from meetings such as this, adding that some localised decisions could be taken by staff on the front line when conditions dictated it.

Mr Clemie encouraged members of the public to use the DG Direct telephone number if they had things like potholes to report as a member of staff was always on call.

Tom Greenaway encouraged the roads officials to look at the state of the Moss of Cree road from Carty Port to Wigtown. He said the surface of the road was deteriorating due to large commercial vehicles, especially milk tankers, using the road.

Michael and Shona Todd, who live down that road, attended the meeting to express their concerns.

Mrs Todd said that every time a milk tanker went past “the whole house shakes”.

Most community council members then gave the roads officers a list of potholes in the Cree Valley area which Colin Forbes diligently wrote down with assurances that many were already on his list for repair.