Boroughs and parish councils step in to take over hundreds of under threat grit bins

Grit bins
Grit bins

More than half of the 500 grit bins that were in jeopardy due to Northamptonshire County Council’s cost-cutting measures will be taken on by boroughs and parishes.

It looks like this coming winter will not be as bleak after all as councils across the county have stepped up to take responsibility for 276 of the salt bins which were to be removed from the winter gritting programme as part of a £475,000 cut to this year’s budget.

The authority says 110 of the bins will not be taken by the other councils and it is still in talks about the remaining 114.

An NCC spokesman said “So far, 276 grit bins have been adopted by borough, district and parish councils who know it makes sense to manage them directly in communities.

“We’re still in continued discussions about taking ownership of the remaining grit bins across Northamptonshire.”

The council said its highways contractor Kier will not be filling the salt bins and total responsibility for the filling and maintenance of the bins will be transferred to other councils.

The locations of the 110 bins looking likely to be removed will be revealed by the authority shortly.

The reduction of the winter gritting has been one of the most controversial of the county council’s service reductions brought on by its financial problems.

It has to save £65m this year as well as find a way to pay back the £35m it overspent last year.

Reducing the salt bins it stocked from 1,975 to 1,475 was part of the savings plan, as well as removing 400km of roads from the precautionary network, which is salted when icy weather is forecast.

This means that 34 per cent of the road network as opposed to 45 per cent of the network will be now be gritted.

Before being approved the plans had been severely criticised by some county councillors who feared for the safety on roads this winter.