Haringey Council has “not learned from snow problems”

WHILE sledgers at Ally Pally were excited to be sliding round in the snow this weekend, those that found themselves slipping on the borough’s roads and pavements were less thrilled.

Residents and opposition councillors have both come forward criticising Haringey Council’s reaction to the widely-predicted snowfall over the weekend, claiming even priority routes and the Carriageway Reslience Network – which aims to allow public transport and main roads to continue to flow through the snow – were not adequately gritted.

But despite residents’ complaints, council officials claim the priority routes were cleared from Saturday.

According to figures released by the Taxpayers Alliance, the council had bought 850 tonnes by this point in 2009 and this year has already ordered more, with 1,000 tonnes in stock and the option to order more.

But Hornsey resident Lesley Ramm says she saw little of it and was trapped as neither the 144, 41 or W3 buses ran through the area this weekend, despite all roads along the route being marked as ‘priority’.

After council assurances that more grit was in place and Homes for Haringey had placed 44 salt bins on its estates, she says she was disappointed that residents faced the same challenges as in 2009.

She said: “Chaos ensued along Hornsey High Street – a priority route – with vehicles unable to get up the inclines at the junction with Church Lane and Tottenham Lane. It was so bad police officers were shovelling snow to clear cars so ambulances could get through. The buses stopped running by mid-afternoon.

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“On Sunday I walked to the High Street to find not only had Nightingale Lane and Boyton Road not been gritted – as promised by Homes for Haringey – but neither had the High Road.

“This despite the council and Transport for London (TfL) website stating that the designated Resilience Network of roads would be gritted as priorities to keep the buses running.

“So again, residents in Hornsey seem to occupy a black hole as far as TfL and the council are concerned every time a bit of snow falls.”

David Douglas, who lives on Alexandra Park Road, says he was shocked the council had not salted the priority route as it is another major bus route.

He said: “Haringey must have missed the weather report. The snow fell and a double decker bus slid to end up sideways, blocking half the road. Being a hill Alexandra Park Road turned into a ski slope.

“From 2pm many locals spent a communal hour or two pushing cars and advising vans to turn back.

“Walking back from Bounds Green that night at the whole length of the main road – usually travelled by three bus routes – from Bounds Green to Muswell Hill was still covered in a layer of ice.”

Liberal Democrats said Labour had not learned the lessons of last winter. Environment spokeswoman and Crouch End councillor Lyn Weber said: “Labour in Haringey said they would learn from last winter’s response to the freezing conditions and various winter service plans were devised, yet here we are, 12 months later, in the same situation and Haringey is grinding to a halt.”

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “Gritting was carried out along the resilience network of roads on Saturday – some of the work went on late into Saturday night. The resilience network includes bus lanes in the borough.

“The build up of traffic on Saturday afternoon and early evening caused by the conditions meant gritters were taking longer to cover the routes.

“Further gritting was carried out on Sunday night. The resilience network of roads have been operating as normal since.”