Moor road upgraded to top gritting status after protest
CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after highways bosses agreed to upgrade a moorland route to the top gritting status for the rest of the winter.
For the past 15 years, the campaigners – led by Jed Collins, clerk to Hope and Scargill Parish Meeting – have battled to get Durham County Council to upgrade the
route over the Stang, which can be treacherous in the winter.
Last year officers from County Durham agreed to co-ordinate efforts with North Yorkshire’s highways department so the Stang Road could be gritted when wintry weather was expected.
But they came short of upgrading the road to priority one status – the highest tier.
However, now they have given reassurances that the route will be treated in this category until the spring.
Mr Collins said: “It is good news. We had a couple of frosts early in the season when Durham County Council weren’t co-ordinating with North Yorkshire. I got in touch and they looked at things and sent a really nice email about the arrangement.
“The high Pennines routes will have an upgraded service and most importantly for the rest of the season the Stang will be treated as a priority one route.”
The arrangement was made following a judicial review into a decision made by council bosses not to upgrade the road’s gritting status.
A review was initially rejected but the campaigners got this overturned.
A subsequent investigation found that it was questionable whether officers had actually made a decision because there were no minutes of meetings or a record of the rationale used.
A meeting of the judicial review took place in January last year when the judge said both sides had to “come together to find some common ground”.
Mr Collins added: “Priority one is what we asked for in the first place. Coincidentally it is also the cheapest option for the council. We worked out that it is only about an extra £40 to do the route – it is the best result we could have asked for.
“The road has been great since then. At the end of the season, I hope they will ink in what has now been pencilled in.”
He joked the route was being tended so well by Durham County Council motorists now faced the danger of their vehicles rusting away because there was “so much salt on the road”.