‘WHERE are the gritters?’ was the question on everybody’s lips on Monday evening.
Petworth came to a standstill and the road from Midhurst to Chichester was ‘lethal’ – but not a gritter was in sight.
John Etherington, chairman of Midhurst town council, said: “West Sussex County Council were heavily criticised for their failure to deliver the winter maintenance plans north of the Downs and they don’t appear to have learned any lessons from that.”
Last week the Observer reported on ‘universal criticism’ of the council after salt bags were delivered to communities four days after snowfall.
And it seems to be too little too late for a second time after gritters abandoned the area.
“Despite lots of early warning about freezing weather and icy conditions they did not grit the roads on Monday night in time to help people get home from work and the result was chaos and traffic disruption,” Cllr Etherington said.
A county council spokesman said gritters were ‘caught out’ by high winds and ‘sudden unexpected bands of snow’ across the road.
“There were also several cases where gritters were unable to follow their usual routes because of abandoned vehicles, and stationary cars,” he said.
But many motorists took to social networking site Twitter to expressed their anger at the blunder, and Ian Pearce wrote: “Avoid Petworth and Tillington - it’s pure hell - not a gritting lorry in sight.”
Cllr Etherington, said: “It was apparent from my own experience that there had been no gritting on the A272 east of Midhurst.
“Cars were sliding over the road and there was evidence of cars having slid into the verges.
“Froghole Farm, Petworth was so bad that drivers were showing a great deal of common sense and only one vehicle was travelling up and down the hill at any one time to avoid collision.”
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