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Dale village wins battle for improved winter gritting
12:38pm Monday 29th October 2012 in News
A REMOTE Swaledale village has learned it will now be placed on a high priority gritting route after years of residents struggling to reach school and work in winter because of ice and snow.
Marrick has now been put on North Yorkshire County Council’s gritting schedule as priority two after a persistent campaign by county councillor and leader of Richmondshire District Council, John Blackie.
Coun Blackie said: “This news will be greeted with delight by the parents of pupils in Marrick, who in harsh winters have seen their children having to stay at home on icy or snowy days because the school bus could not reach them – while most others in nearby communities have made it to their schools.
“In both of the two bad winters recently, there was each a period of two weeks when the school bus could not get into Marrick and safely get out again – leaving as many as 12 schoolchildren stranded.
“Some of those students were at an important stage, doing mock GCSE and A-level exams.”
But Coun Blackie wants to get more remote communities connected on higher priority routes.
He said: “In Arkengarthdale, my attempt to get the route upgraded from priority two to priority one failed again, and I am disappointed as what might be considered one of the most remote schools in all England – Arkengarthdale Primary School with 36 pupils – lies on the dale road.
“It is only reached by going across some of the wildest moorland imaginable from Reeth.
“Schoolchildren from Arkengarthdale going to Richmond School have often been stranded at home for days, often missing vital education at exam time, because the school bus has not been safely able to get in and out of the dale.
“Earlier this year, the school bus overturned, fortunately without any passengers travelling and the driver was unhurt, on an icy morning.”
Coun Blackie vowed to keep fighting for a better gritting service for Arkengarthdale.
He said: “We will continue in Arkengarthdale to rely on the excellent tractor box gritting service that Robert Stones is authorised to undertake to augment the NYCC priority two service.
“There is an invaluable back-up minibus service – although obviously without priority one gritting, occasionally this service cannot operate either.”