Anger over icy Ottery car parks

PUBLISHED: 14:33 08 January 2011

ANGRY civic leaders blasted the “double standards” of East Devon District Council (EDDC) after Ottery car parks were left un-gritted during recent freezing weather.

ANGRY civic leaders blasted the “double standards” of East Devon District Council (EDDC) after Ottery car parks were left un-gritted during recent freezing weather. Town councillors this week said the authority’s decision to clear its Knowle headquarters of snow and ice in December “rubbed salt into the wounds” as shoppers shunned Ottery town centre.

Frozen car parks in Hind Street, Brook Street and the Land of Canaan were left untouched by EDDC as freezing temperatures took hold.

The Herald last year revealed how public town car parks aren’t gritted to reduce the risk of residents falling- as EDDC insurers fear victims have a better chance of suing them if the safety measure IS in place.

At their full meeting on Monday, Ottery town councillors voiced frustration that tax paying residents, who also have to fork out for car park charges, are being short changed.

“EDDC cleared its own car park and left the rest,” said Councillor Roger Giles, who has long called for all car parks to be gritted. “It’s quite wrong. People are angry about it and justifiably so.”

Cllr Peter Williams added: “If they are going to take money from punters, car parks should be safe and fit for use.”

“It was an utter disaster for shops coming up to Christmas,” said Cllr Tony Abbott, a town trader. “You couldn’t get in Ottery’s car parks.”

Councillors added snow and ice put the skids under a ‘free parking’ day in December when car parks remained deserted.

EDDC said clearing its Knowle headquarters of snow and ice was “no more than any reasonable and responsible organisation would do for its customers and employees.”

A spokesman said keeping the Sidmouth hub accessible was key in ensuring vital services kept going in the big freeze.

The authority pointed out Devon County Council (DCC) is responsible for clearing highways.


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