Car-park snow

PUBLISHED: 16:40 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010

SIR, — Last Wednesday I made a foolish decision to come into St Albans city centre for the first time that week for some essential items and to view the exhibition in The Old Town Hall for the proposed redevelopment of Hertfordshire House. It would seem t

SIR, - Last Wednesday I made a foolish decision to come into St Albans city centre for the first time that week for some essential items and to view the exhibition in The Old Town Hall for the proposed redevelopment of Hertfordshire House. It would seem that despite every attempt these days to keep us out of our city centre (including the abandonment of Wednesday's market, city-centre car parks advertising out of town shopping centres on their tickets etc) the Drovers Way car park was full on all the lower levels. Full marks to the retailers and hardy residents.

I soon found myself on the upper levels where minimal effort had been made to clear the snow and ice. The only parking space I could find was on virgin snow, about nine inches deep, on the very upper deck. The ramps had not been totally cleared of snow making ascent and decent very hazardous.

We have been told that the magnitude of this "snow event" was very rare. However this is not the first time I have used these levels of this car park while covered with snow and ice. I have not complained until now as I hoped that lessons had been learnt that this was totally unacceptable. My husband has also parked there on several occasions when heavily covered in frost and again no effort had been made to grit it.

This situation must be reviewed and contingency plans put in place. There is hardly a winter goes by without a few days of at least a hard frost or some snow; it is inexcusable to leave upper level car parks in such a state. No doubt the car park machines were still being emptied of our cash, what about these individuals spending some time with a shovel and some grit too

I knew, only because of my access to the web, that the Wednesday street market had been cancelled due to the snow on Monday. However I was unprepared to see the extent of city-centre disruption which still existed two days after the snow fell and which had caused this decision; our main high-street pavements were still treacherous in some areas.

I had heard that Herts County Council were running low on grit. However should the district council not ensure that they have adequate supplies of grit for use on pavements in such episodes to keep this vital commercial area of our city open for trade and safe for shoppers? I can well understand that the county council's priority must be to keep the many miles of vital highway passable. The district council claim to be working in partnership with the county, so I really feel it would be a poor show to blame the county in this case.

Also I believe either NCP or the council (which owns the car parks on our behalf) should take responsibility and have sufficient stocks of grit to keep the upper levels safe if they are to be kept open for chargeable use.

As a householder I ensure that I buy bags of grit during the summer from B&Q to ensure safety on our property during such episodes of bad weather - why is our council so unprepared? I do hope that a full review will be carried out to ensure our city centre and car parks are safe as soon as possible after a snow or ice "event" of any level.

I feel if we had a dynamic city centre manager aided by a close working city-centre management board, this situation would have been well under control by now. Instead we have drift - yesterday it felt like parking in a snow drift.

VANESSA GREGORY,

Tennyson Road, St Albans.

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