OLDHAM Council has been blasted for ‘putting the public at risk’ after deciding to remove grit bins.
But it has hit back, claiming some are being taken because the ward’s representatives do not fund them.
Saddleworth North Liberal Democrat Councillor Garth Harkness has hit out after the authority opted to go ahead with the removal of several from Delph, two in Diggle and one in Denshaw.
That came after it initially paused original plans as Saddleworth Independent told how 32 in the North and South wards would have been taken away.
A wider consultation was promised after leader Cllr Arooj Shah ordered a review.
But Cllr Harkness has responded angrily after learning the plans will go forward.
He said: “What an absolute joke.
“Oldham council tried to just remove the grit bins and when called out gave some warm words about a pause and consultation.
“Well, here we are a couple of months later. Ignoring all the concerns raised and removing the same grit bins proposed in August.
“I was asked on September 23 for comments and the email was exactly the same proposals we had been told was happening in September.
“This time it was supposed to now be a consultation. I made exactly the same comments as before.
“Winters in Saddleworth are harsher than other parts of the borough but no consideration for the residents here.
“So residents will be put at risk as Labour’s Oldham council doesn’t think road safety is an essential service.
“I opposed these cuts but they are ploughing on regardless – this is not a consultation, it is lip service.”
After Cllr Harkness’ criticism, Oldham Council responded saying the bins are being removed as they are either in the wrong place or already on a primary gritting route.
But Cllr Chris Goodwin, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, also said members not paying for refilling is a reason.
He told Saddleworth Independent: “The council places grit bins where they are needed most.
“A review of the locations of grit bins has been undertaken and the majority of bins will remain in place or be relocated to an improved, nearby location.
“The bins that are being removed are either incorrectly located, due to being on a primary gritting route, or are not being used because local councillors, such as Cllr Harkness, do not fund the refilling of those bins.
“All councillors were consulted before any final decisions were made, taking their views on board, and explaining fully the reasoning why the bins were being removed.
“Bins that are sponsored by local councillors will continue to be serviced.
“Residents can check to see where their nearest grit bin is and find out whether they live on a primary or secondary route via the council’s website.”