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Hunters Inn on Exmoor resorts to paying own gritter to treat roads

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

  • STACKED UP: Struggling to travel.

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A PUBLICAN has resorted to paying for her local road to be gritted because the council will not do it.

The Hunters Inn at Heddon Valley was virtually cut off as a result of the recent bout of snow. Customers could not access the pub and many had to cancel.

Landlady Deborah Orton said for the past few years she has had to pay a local contractor to come and grit the roads near her as they are not dealt with by council gritters.

She said: "Every year we end up having to pay someone to grit the road. It is outrageous.

"We get snowed in. We can't get out, staff can't get in and we can't get any deliveries.

"It is awful for customers because we cannot even tell them to try and get here because we know they won't be able to."

There is a salt depot at the top of the lane leading to the pub which gritters pick up from – yet the lane is left untreated.

The road problems also extended to the Parracombe area.

Nikki Baxter, who has run the Fox and Goose in Parracombe for eight years, had cancellations from visitors and delivery vehicles who could not access the pub.

She said gritters did not come out and treat roads in the village.

She said: "They used to come down but then they stopped and now we have salt delivered.

"We have had people cancel for meals and accommodation.

"We pay our taxes the same as everybody else but we are not the hub of the economy in this area so we are always going to be the places that lose out first.

"There's always that fear that should we need the emergency services they couldn't get to you."

Devon County Council says it treats the main roads in the area, meaning emergency service vehicles still have access to the majority of residents.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, the council's cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "With more than 8,000 miles of road in Devon, it's impossible for us to treat the entire network. "So we prioritise roads and target the busiest routes.

"The road through Parracombe, cutting the corner off from the A39, is designated as a secondary route and is treated during periods of extended freezing when resources are available.

"Salt/grit boxes are placed at trouble spots and are designed for self help and to boost local resilience."

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