Rosie Cooper MP is calling on West Lancashire Borough Council to review its gritting contract with Lancashire County Council.
Many local businesses are complaining that they are losing business due to the car parks and footpaths being poorly gritted. The dangerous icy conditions are causing many residents to stay at home instead of going to the shops. This is a particularly important time of year, as many businesses’ livelihoods depend on an increased amount of spending during the holiday season.
Local business owner, Julie Asprey of J & M Hair Studio said: “I’ve had five cancellations just today. Most of them are elderly clients that are too scared to come in because their pathways are icy. If they do come in they are frightened of falling on the ice. The main roads are now reasonably clear but nothing else looks as if it’s been done. We need more than just the roads done; we need the pathways and car parks to be cleared as well so that people come to the shops safely.
At this time of year, I should be seeing wall-to-wall people and completely busy. At the moment, I’m sitting around. I’ve never seen Ormskirk town centre so lifeless.”
Ms Asprey said about her situation personally: “I’m paying £2.90 a day to use that car park but it’s a sheet of ice. I haven’t been able to park there for the last few days. What am I paying for? It’s an absolute disgrace.”
Currently, the contract is for the Lancashire County Council to grit 17 car parks across the borough. Lancashire County Council also has responsibility for gritting all of the roads, including Ormskirk town centre. Many residents have complained about injuries due to the lack of gritting on footpaths, the town centre and the car parks which are covered in ice.
Rosie Cooper MP said: “My office has been flooded by calls from concerned business owners and residents who have unsuccessfully pleaded with the County Council to grit their streets. This is absolutely unacceptable. If both local councils care so much about their residents and local businesses, then they should stop talking and start acting - put their money where their mouth is.
“West Lancashire residents are understandably angry that the county council is not listening to now or learning lessons from February during the last freeze. Residents are constantly being fobbed off with the same answer – that areas are being gritted ‘according to priority.’
“Both local councils need to understand that West Lancashire residents are extremely unhappy with the way this winter weather has been handled leaving many too scared to leave their homes.”
“This is why I am calling on West Lancashire Borough Council to review their car park gritting contract with Lancashire County Council as they clearly aren’t providing the level of service expected and needed during in these situations. As for clearing roads generally I believe council taxpayers are getting a poor deal when it comes to gritting.”
“Lancashire County Council promised a gritting review following the winter conditions earlier this year. It doesn’t appear it has learnt any lessons or provided any improvements for the council taxpayers of West Lancashire who after all are paying their wages."