As a result of the serious winter during 2010-11, as a Chesterfield Borough councillor, I chaired a grit bin review. This was extensive and took nearly a year. When the new Labour administration took over in 2011, it decided for some strange reason that a further review was required. Eventually, in 2012, after yet another winter the final, and by now, long delayed review came to the conclusion that the purchase, supply and filling of new grit bins was solely the responsibility of the County Council. The County Council however, has made it clear for several years now that it will fund only a limited number of new grit bins for all the towns and villages across the County and only then, if the Borough or District Councils agree to refill them. Chesterfield’s additional allocation in 2011-12 was a miserly three bins. There is therefore somewhat of an impasse. The County will supply next to nothing and only then if the Borough takes continuing responsibility for filling them - and Chesterfield Borough has a policy of “This is the County’s responsibility”. So as usual, the problems of the local residents are kicked into the long grass, or in this case, deep snow.
I am astonished that a Labour council that trumpets its support for public service cannot find wit, wisdom, imagination or cash, to resolve this simple problem and we face another serious winter with neither council taking responsibility for sorting this matter. The general public will probably be totally unaware of these confused policies at both Councils. This prompts the question to Chesterfield Borough Council cabinet: “When we are all shin deep in snow, how do we explain that to residents?”