Anger over city’s preparations for snow

Besi Besemar March 13, 2013

Simon Kirby, MP
Simon Kirby, MP

Snow on Monday afternoon caused chaos throughout Sussex with the main A23 into the city being closed resulting in many motorists being forced to spend the night in their cars in sub zero conditions.  The city centre and seafront quickly came to a standstill as buses stopped running and were abandoned and taxis were refusing to take fares.

Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown, has contacted the City Council to see why the City seemed so unprepared for the snow fall.

Simon said:

“Clearly from the massive disruption witnessed on Monday evening and the experiences being relayed to me by constituents in the City yesterday morning, the approach from Brighton & Hove City Council was woefully inadequate.” 

He added:

“I am in touch with the Council to see how matters are going to be taken forward.”


Dyke Road - Clifton Terrace
Dyke Road – Clifton Terrace

Brighton & Hove City Council’s head of highways operations, Christina Liassides, responded saying: 

“The snow yesterday and today has caused problems across Sussex, and Brighton & Hove is no exception. Our gritters have been working  across the city over the weekend and Monday treating the roads with grit and salt.

“Unfortunately, continued snow and strong winds reduced the effectiveness of gritting in some areas, but we are continuing to grit across the city and plough where necessary.

“Refuse and recycling staff unable to undertake their normal rounds have also been helping clear snow.

“Since Saturday we have put down over 300 tonnes of salt and 50 tonnes of grit on the roads and we are still gritting at the moment. Around a further 20 tonnes has been used on pavement gritting.

“We have also ploughed overnight and this morning and have had three JCBs working to clear snow drifts in Falmer Road, Bexhill Road and Pankhurst area.“We’ve been salting pavements in the city centre, around the hospitals, and along London Road and Lewes Road.

“By Tuesday morning, the gritters had covered the equivalent of 1,000 miles since Saturday and we have laid over 350 tonnes of gritting materials on the roads, going over and over routes to give them a fighting chance against the persistent snowfall.

“We will be carrying out several grit runs this evening and into the night, and will closely monitor the evening forecast update and weather conditions overnight.”

Hotelier Nick Head who owns a Hotel in Kemptown was very angry as to how quickly the City came to a standstill and in particular the lack of gritters in St James Street.

He said:

“It is just not good enough. I was expecting a party of 40 German visitors to the city for dinner at the hotel on Monday night at 6pm. They finally arrived at 4am the following morning. There were no gritters in St James Street which brought the area to a complete standstill very quickly. Furthermore I was knocked down by a cyclist, had my wrist broken and was not able to get to the hospital on Monday night.

“I attended a public meeting in November 2012 at Dorset Garden Methodist Church when residents made is very clear to the local police their number one safety concern in the area regarded cyclists, cycling down St James Street the wrong way and on the pavement. It was clearly viewed by local residents as dangerous, against the law and they wanted the problem sorting out.

“The Argus reported yesterday that Sussex Police issued 4,017 fines for seatbelt offences in 2012, I want to know exactly how many fines or cautions have been issued to cyclists in St James Street for diving illegally since that November meeting.”