DISCUSSION on the future of winter gritting of Powys roads by councillors will be held in a confidential session.
On Monday, September 11 the public part of Powys County Council’s Economy, Residents and Communities scrutiny committee is set to start at least half an hour later than expected.
Once the meeting starts at 10am councillors will go straight into confidential session and to receive a report by Liberal Democrat Cabinet member for highways and transport, Cllr Jackie Charlton on “Winter Maintenance” proposals.
Earlier this year the Liberal Democrat/Labour Cabinet agreed to hold a consultation on “phase two” of the winter service review which would eventually see the priority routes for gritting agreed.
A month long online consultation which the council call a “public engagement exercise” on the proposals took place through April and finished on May 14.
The survey asked participants to rank locations in priority for gritting from one to 20.
These are routes near the location of schools, childcare facilities, hospitals, medical centres, care homes, sheltered housing, emergency services bases, car parks, bus, and railway stations.
This will then feed into the winter service review, and it was expected that a financial analysis of the proposals would only be available once the new route maps have been drafted.
The council are justifying holding the discussions in secret by using paragraph(s) 14 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.
Powys council claims that exempting the information “outweighs” the public interest in disclosing it.
Earlier this year Cllr Charlton said: “The gritting routes in Powys have not been reviewed for over 20 years.
“It’s important to emphasise that this review is based on delivering best practice, it’s time to make gritting equitable across our roads.”
The first phase of the winter service review was agreed back in October 2019 by the former Independent/Conservative administration and was criticised by councillors for potentially causing more danger on Powys roads as well as harming the economy.
The changes made at the time also saved the council £71,000.