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Getting ready for winter in se23
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Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #1
05-10-2010 03:31 PM

I was wondering whether at the next forum etc, people were interested in raising this issue in order to find practical ways of dealing with the snow and ice and potential ways of getting the roads and pavements gritted especially on the hills.

We have had two very harsh winters the last one being particularly memorable. Despite being in London many areas in FH were isolated for some time due to icy roads and pavements. Some areas ie Ringmore Rise, Horniman Drive were impassable for many people. Even some of the lower slopes were snowed in. We could not get our car out for 10 days or so and when we did it wasn't pleasant or safe driving conditions. However on Devonshire/Stanstead Road ie the flat bits, the picture was completely different as the ice had already melted and life went back to normal pretty quickly.

There was also the salt and grit shortage of last winter which exacerbated the problem as its then difficult for the gritting lorries to get a grip on the road. We did have a few blokes around shovelling grit off the back of a small van as this was the only way it could be done but it was clearly not as effective.

Any views appreciated. If we are going to do something we really need to act now and ask Councillors/the Council about putting specific strategies in place.

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Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #2
05-10-2010 07:50 PM

I'd be really interested if anyone has any tips on how private blocks on private land manage gritting and shovelling. Options I've looked at seem very expensive.

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #3
06-10-2010 06:39 AM

Once upon a time, I seem to remember, there were grit bins on streets that were badly affected by ice or who lived at the top of hills. Residents would go out with their shovels and put out the initial coating of grit. This would allow the big gritters to get up if needed, and meant people could also do the pavements so they could get out.

Probably not allowed now due to Helf n Safety.

Actually, that reminds me, all those rumours last year that you shouldn't clear the snow and ice in case you CAUSED an accident and got sued were nonsense. Get out your shovels.

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Posts: 133
Joined: May 2007
Post: #4
06-10-2010 10:38 AM

I know I've mentioned this before, so my apologies in advance if people are fed up with hearing it, but my dad and I used to deliver the milk to all of the roads at the top of Forest Hill (until 1969) and we never missed a daily delivery because of the snow. Even in the appalling winter of '63 we still got around.

One of the main reasons we succeeded in getting up (and down) the hills in the snow (Canonbie could be something else -) was because we always had snow chains fitted to the wheels of the milk float. These helped to cut through the snow and ice.

However, I should add out that our humble float had some built in advantages when it came to tackling the snow and ice. Not least the fact that there was tremendous weight (the crates of milk) sitting directly over the driving wheels which provided excellent grip and being electric, you could gently feed the power in from a standstill to limit wheelspin. In fact, grip was so good that we used to gently nudge the nose of the float against the rear bumpers of customers cars when they were stuck in the snow (they had metal bumpers then) and push them up to the top of Westwood Park and Ringmore Rise.

Fitting a set of snow chains to your car might well help (try Halfords) for the local shopping etc although once back on clear roads you have to keep your speed down - Again, the float was never fast, so having chains fitted on clear roads was never a problem - even though we used to drive back and forth to Forest Hill everyday from the United Dairies depot at Brockley Cross. Indeed, often the biggest problem for us in bad weather was actually getting to the depot at the crack of dawn.

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robin orton

Posts: 716
Joined: Feb 2009
Post: #5
06-10-2010 11:02 AM

'Nevermodern' said:

I'd be really interested if anyone has any tips on how private blocks on private land manage gritting and shovelling

I happened to be in Frobisher Court, a Dulwich Estate block of flats off Sydenham Rise the other day, and noticed that there was an (unlocked) bin containing grit next to the carpark. I assumed that this was there to enable residents to grit the car park and approach road if they wanted to. Don't know who provided it - Dulwich Estate?

In response to Roz's and R. H. S. Dunlop's points, I understand that the council no longer provide grit bins because they get vandalised. My suggestion is that in steep and hilly side roads, someone should volunteer to have custody of a grit bin on their premises (eg front garden) plus a key. Neighbours would be told about this by a leaflet through their door. The leaflet would explain that if there were snow or ice and the road became impassable, the young and fit with a few minutes to spare were invited to ask the custodian for the key and do a bit of civic-minded spreading (bring your own spade).

Very much in the spirit if the Big Society, I suggest - though to say that is perhaps to strangle the idea at birth.

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