Council ploughing ahead with tractor idea

Pocklington Mayor Coun Graham Perry
Pocklington Mayor Coun Graham Perry

POCKLINGTON town councillors have come up with a high-tech solution to avoid a repeat of last year’s winter chaos.

At a meeting on Wednesday, 9 November, members agreed the council should invest in a two wheeled walking tractor, costing thousands of pounds, with a sweeper attachment to use during the winter when it snows.

Councillors are hopeful of receiving a grant of up to £3,000 from East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) for the machine. The remaining money will come from the town council’s own reserves.

Last winter, Pocklington was “in a mess” according to the mayor of Pocklington, councillor Graham Perry, with local volunteers taking on the difficult task of keeping footpaths free of snow and safe to walk on using just a shovel. Coun Perry says the machine will make the job much easier in the future.

He said: “Last year the town was in a mess. We hadn’t got the equipment or the man power to clear footpaths or make them safe to walk on.

“We’ve taken the decision to get some equipment to deal with the problem this year. It will allow us to clear the snow on footpaths using existing labour force in a way that is safe.

“This equipment will make it a mechanised task and will clear a lot more footpath rapidly.”

Volunteers were needed in Pocklington last winter as ERYC’s streetscene services was overloaded with work and unable to offer a helping hand.

Since then, the local authority has contacted town and parish councils to suggest ways they can be more self-sufficient.

ERYC has a Town and Parish Grant Scheme which offers up to £3,000 to local councils to help them with snow and ice clearing.

At last week’s meeting, Pocklington Provincial ward councillor Kay West said the town council are likely to get a grant of £3,000 if they applied quickly.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “East Riding of Yorkshire Council is working closely with town and parish councils across the area to ensure that, should severe weather occur, a robust winter maintenance response is in place.

“Following last year’s severe winter, the council identified a number of areas where, by working with town and parish councils, service delivery could be improved, such as the installation and maintenance of salt bins.

“This was through the innovative Severe Weather Grant Assistance Scheme, which saw more than 100 applications and £112,000 allocated to help clear snow and ice.”

Shopkeepers in Pocklington said the snow last year was so bad they lost business because of it and have backed the idea to buy a walking tractor.

Guy Scott, of Scott’s Fishmongers, on Market Street, said: “It did effect business a lot last year. So much so I had to go out and knock on people’s doors in Pocklington.”

Davina Jones, who owns Celebrations on Market Place, said: “It would be for the safety of people and people’s safety is very important.”

The town council also intends to buy a grass cutting attachment for the tractor to trim grass verges and other green areas in Pocklington.