Pavements in central Croydon, along the High Street as far as South Croydon and all the way along George Street, past Allders to East Croydon station, were abandoned by the council’s gritting teams on Friday as the first serious snow of winter arrived in London.
More snow is forecast for the capital over the weekend, but it seems unlikely that Croydon Council will be forking out on overtime to have its staff shovelling grit, if Friday’s performance is anything to go by.
Inside Croydon wants to hear from our loyal reader: have your roads and pavements been treated, at all, adequately, or very well?
Croydon Council has a mixed record on its snow patrols. In 2012, it seemed well prepared, with good stocks of road salt and gritting teams and road gritters in action in advance of that year’s worst snowfall. This may have been in response to the chaos on local roads by the heavy snow in late 2010, when major junctions, such as Fiveways, became gridlocked because of the lack of preparation work by our council.
On that occasion, Croydon Council’s Ministry of Truth claimed extensive gritting had gone on and that there were no problems on our roads, even with lengthy tail backs stretching along Wellesley Road. It was plainly untrue.
And this year, Croydon appears to have reverted to unplanned, unprepared, under-staffed type.
No one expects every street and side road to be treated ahead of icy weather. It would be helpful if home owners and shopkeepers cleared the public areas in front of their properties. And the council gritter (is there more than one?) had been seen in action on A roads and some B roads throughout last week.
Gritting teams, we were told by the council, would be out from 5am on Friday to ensure that pavements were safe.
We want to hear from the residents of Croydon: have you seen any evidence of gritting teams working on the busiest pedestrian routes near you?
Because despite those promises of action from Taberner House regarding the gritting of pavements in the town centre, eyewitnesses saw no evidence of any council gritting along George Street on the busy pedestrian route to East Croydon station, before noon on Friday, even though the forecasters had been proved right with the first flakes falling on Croydon just before 9am that day.
The High Street, along by Grants, all the way beyond the Underpass to South End, had similarly been abandoned, with not a grain of grit to be seen.
At lunchtime on Friday, a council flat-back lorry arrived on George Street, and a couple of workmen with shovels left two piles of grit at the side of the road.
Nine hours later, those grit piles were still in place, unspread – not by the council staff, nor shopkeepers or the public – as the conditions underfoot in what used to be one of Croydon’s busiest shopping streets turned into a slushy, slippery mess which was sure to turn to treacherous ice overnight.
At East Croydon station, a member of platform staff had to sweep the in-blowing snow from the steps of the £22 million new Stairway to Heaven on the Bridge to Nowhere. But out on the main station entrance, by 10pm the approaches had remained untreated and ungritted.
Our council had spent Thursday advising residents not to drive, presumably to go out on foot: “Car users are being advised to leave their vehicles at home,” a Croydon Council spokesman was quoted as having said, “as road travel may become very difficult later in the afternoon.”
So what have you observed?
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“Main road are all clear, high streets and main road pavements have been gritted no complaints from me,” said Richard Hough, who was unable to confirm whether he is the sometimes controversial figure from Norwood Junction.
Ian Ferris responded, saying: “I live in Selsdon and the main side roads like Foxearth sadly do not get gritted.”
And @MoodyBarista, who runs a coffee shop at Crystal Palace, was able to offer a contrast with neighbouring borough Bromley: “We are on Church Rd, Crystal Palace. The Croydon side has been, the Bromley side of the Rd hasn’t.”
“I can confirm that Siddons Road has not been gritted and neither has its pavement,” said Ally McKinlay, who tweets as @BadgerJellyfish from near Wandle Park, where they say their road connects the park and tram stop “so there’s a steady flow of people and our pavement gets grim”.
“Old Coulsdon side roads dreadful. Pavements are never gritted here!” from @PirateTreasures.
“Croydon council suggest drivers leave cars at home – unless pavements & cycle lanes gritted this won’t happen,” was the view of @CroydonCyclists.
What can you report?
We asked the council’s official Twitter feed account for an explanation. There was no response.
As for trains, despite Southern implementing a reduced service ahead of the snow, there were routinely delays of 25 to 30 minutes on trains in and out of East Croydon right through Friday afternoon and into the evening.
“We apologise for the delay in this service,” was one announcement to passengers, “caused by the bad weather.” The service in question was 20 minutes late out of Victoria, and hurtled along without any obvious problem from “bad” weather once it got going.
Southern announced on Friday that it was hoping to provide a regular Saturday service today, except where engineering works were planned.
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