Anger over ‘missing’ grit bins as residents battle icy streets

Taylor Wimpey insists it has returned grit bins, but some may have been 'relocated' to suit the ongoing building work.

Anger over ‘missing’ grit bins as residents battle icy streets LDRS
Grit bins: Dad-of-two Ross Whitten said families were left 'struggling on black ice'.

Residents of a new housing estate in East Lothian say developers are refusing to bring back their grit bins despite freezing conditions after taking them away for “storage”.

Families living in the new phase of Taylor Wimpey’s Letham Mains estate, in Haddington, have to trek through the construction site of a rival developer to collect grit since their bins were removed.

And they say when they asked the company to bring the bins back, they were told they could not because it would mean taking them from other streets making those residents “unhappy”.

Dad-of-two Ross Whitten said families were left “struggling on black ice” with “no means of salting the roads”.

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Taylor Wimpey insists it has returned grit bins and even increased the number.

However, it has admitted some may have been “relocated” to suit the ongoing building work.

As part of the road construction consent given to the housing developer by East Lothian Council it is obliged to have “adequate provision for gritting and salting to include the provision of grit bins and salt, in particular for snow and ice”.

However, the nearest bin to be brought back appeared with a notice attached, which stated: “This grit bin is provided without obligation by Taylor Wimpey for the convenience and assistance of residents.”

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Taylor Wimpey: A note attached to a grit bin.
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Mr Whitten, who lives on Kerr Loan, said around five bins were removed last April from his and surrounding streets.

At the time Taylor Wimpey told him they were being taken away to be cleaned and stored and “will be placed back out again in the winter months”.

However, when they were contacted last week on the eve of Storm Arwen they said the bins had been returned and placed “where site managers feel there may be problem areas”.

When Mr Whitten pointed out the bins removed from his street and others were not back in place, Taylor Wimpey told him: “I appreciate you are unhappy with where the grit bins have been placed, the difficulty however is that should we move them then we are likely to make others unhappy.

“The bins’ location will remain as they are.”

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East Lothian: The Letham Mains estate.

Mr Whitten, whose street like many in the Letham Mains estate is built on a slope, said the closest bin was more than half a kilometre away on the other side of a construction site run by another developer.

He said: “I can’t believe I am having to argue with Taylor Wimpey about grit bins.

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“This estate has a lot of families who have been left struggling on black ice as temperatures fell over the last week and no means of salting the roads.

“It is baffling why a company as big as they are is digging their heels in over giving us the means to make our street safe.”

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey said: “As a responsible homebuilder, we can confirm that we have an agreement with East Lothian Council to provide grit bins at our Letham Mains development in Haddington.

“An additional three bins were delivered this week, which totals 12 bins and all are fully stocked with rock salt.

“We are disappointed to learn about claims that some grit bins have been removed, however it’s perhaps more likely that some bins may have been relocated recently to suit our build programme and some may now be in different locations.

“We would like to reassure all local residents at the development that we have met the requirements as set out and agreed with East Lothian Council.”

The new roads for the housing will not be adopted by the local authority until construction on the estate is complete, so it is not responsible for maintenance.

By local democracy reporter Marie Sharp