Anger as Wallsend Porsche garage is gritted
COUNCIL chiefs have provoked anger after it emerged they gritted a Porsche garage car park while leaving areas outside pensioners’ homes untreated.
Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors blasted Tory-run North Tyneside council after it emerged it gritted the Porsche garage car park, at Silverlink Park, Wallsend, for £100 during the recent cold snap.
The council was also paid £150 for treating the car park of John N Dunn building services at Silverlink Park, and £100 to carry out gritting for Greggs at Gosforth.
Details were released after a Freedom of Information request to the council, asking for details relating to gritting after Christmas Eve, as the region was gripped by the coldest snap in years.
The revelations are even more extraordinary given that Transport Secretary Lord Adonis recently ordered councils to slash use of salt by a quarter to preserve dwindling stocks.
A source close to Lord Adonis said: “Of course, it is for North Tyneside to prioritise salt distribution locally.
“Choosing access to a Porsche garage before essential services is unusual and will be frustrating to many local residents.”
North Tyneside Lib Dem councillor Graeme Brett said he was “stunned”, adding: “We have had major problems throughout North Tyneside and particularly in the Wallsend area where side roads were impassable and also where elderly residents in sheltered accommodation and in aged person’s bungalows, the paths weren’t cleared.”
Coun Graeme Brett, who represents the council’s Northumberland ward, also claimed that the council refused to even fill grit bins outside pensioners’ homes so family and friends could treat local roads. “I find it incredible given that the Government has told councils to reduce the amount of gritting use by 25% and they haven’t got enough to put in front of elderly people’s homes and they are gritting in front of a Porsche garage,” said the councillor.
Coun Jim Allan, Labour group leader, who represents Camperdown Ward, said it was right to concentrate on major roads and bus routes in the initial phase of the bad weather.
But he expressed surprise at the gritting of private car parks, adding: “Even the charge of £100 doesn’t seem a reasonable amount of money.”
North Tyneside elected mayor Linda Arkley said: “As soon as I was made aware of these concerns, I asked for an urgent report into the matter. It’s been explained to me that this service has been provided for decades and is also offered by other local authorities.
“The snow ploughs only ever carry out the work when they have done everything else they can possibly do.”
She added: “However, I understand why this issue could be a concern to local residents who I know have found the recent bad weather very difficult. That is why I will be asking our new independent task group, which I announced earlier this week, to look into the matter as a priority.”
The council also said the equipment used in these cases was only appropriate for large-scale clearing and would not be used around sensitive areas, such as older people’s accommodation – which it said were clear.