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Winter gritting in parts of Greater Manchester to be slashed to save money

One council has acknowledged that there will be ‘more injuries and accidents thanks’ to the cuts

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EcoGrit Concentrate & Highways Today

Ice gritting in parts of the region won’t be going ahead this winter as councils cut back on costs.

Under revised plans, Bolton Council has said it will only grit roads that are in a ‘very high risk’ category in order to save an estimated sum of £257,000.

Instead, the council will only be gritting roads with the largest traffic volumes, major routes, and critical infrastructure.

The changes, expected to stay in place until at least 2024, were detailed in a council report responding to cuts in central funding.

Highways Today

The report reads: “As a consequence of the savings options proposed in the February 2021 budget report, the Winter Service Budget is proposed to be reduced by £257k.

“This effectively means that the council will need to reduce its treatment regime to the very high-risk category – ie the resilient network only.”

Instead, more salt bins will be installed across the town, the council added.

Cllr David Wilkinson has said the cuts will have ‘significant implications’ on residents across Westhoughton who use public transport, saying the council confirmed to him that a number of routes will be removed.

He said the council also said they anticipate ‘more accidents and injuries’ as a result of the cuts.

He explained: “On the report, it has been made clear that the council admits there will be more accidents and more people will be injured because there will be less roads gritted meaning there will be more ice, frost and snow during the winter months and there will be an increase in accidents, the council admits it.”

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The council has said this wasn’t a decision they wanted to make, adding that the policy will be in place until at least 2024.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Cllr Stuart Haslam, said: “This certainly was not a decision I wanted to take, the winter gritting service fulfils a vital service for road users.

“The changes to the gritting route are part of the council’s wider saving of £37.2m identified for the 2021-23 budget period.

“The council has adopted a risk-based approach to winter maintenance, meaning each road in the borough has been categorised in priority order. Under this approach, gritting will continue along all major routes, roads that have the largest volume of traffic and those which provide access to critical infrastructure.”

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Northern housing estate so rough bus drivers were forced to stop going there

The services were fully suspended over the weekend following a spate of antisocial behaviour

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Google Maps & Eddie / Flickr

A northern housing estate became so plagued with anti-social behaviour that bus drivers were told to avoid stopping there.

Two bus routes through the Swarcliffe Estate in Leeds were cancelled earlier in the year after teenagers reportedly targeted the vehicles and passengers with stones and rocks. 

In a social media statement, First West Yorkshire announced that the 40 and 56 services would be avoiding the estate in both directions, citing ‘attempted vandalism’. 

The tweet thread read: “SERVICE UPDATE – 40/56. Due to attempted vandalism, we are diverting away from the Swarcliffe Estate in both directions.

“So sorry for any issues this may cause on your journey.

“This will be in place until the end of service this evening. This is for the safety of both our drivers and passengers. I am sorry for the disruption caused.”

Read More: One of the world’s deadliest snakes found on industrial estate in Salford

In a post on Facebook, Councillor Jessica Lennox, of Cross Gates and Whinmoor ward, addressed the vandalism, confirming that the 40 and 56 buses would be diverting around the area ‘as a result of some serious vandalism that took place earlier’. 

Mtaylor848 / Wikimedia Commons

Residents have previously spoken about how they ‘live in fear’ on the estate, saying intimidating anti-social behaviour is becoming worse.

One local teenager told Leeds Live of the youths who vandalised the buses: “They throw stones and break the buses whenever they come down here. I wasn’t surprised.

“Just the other day I saw three buses stopped at the bottom of the estate because they all had glass smashed everywhere. It had gone over a nearby mum and her pram.

“If you see a big group of people anywhere around here you turn around and go the other way.”

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Her grandmother added: “Stones are always thrown at buses around here as there’s nothing for the kids to do… It’s really bad where big groups gather around the Co-Op.

“My grandson lives around the corner and he’s been attacked twice. We don’t really go out at night, and would use a taxi if we did. It’s not nice for the drivers or the passengers.”

Another resident, Keith Pettman, told the outlet that the estate was suffering major issues with antisocial behaviour, saying: “There’s some youths on the estate that are a little rowdy.

“They mess about with bikes and things like all bored teenagers do but I know they get in the way of buses and people.

“There’s definitely vandals around that will smash a few things up every so often. The field also gets ripped up and recently a load of dustbins got set on fire.”

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Pub chain giving away FREE pints to anyone with one of these 50 surnames

Are you on the list?

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Greene King

England’s World Cup campaign got off to a flying start yesterday with a convincing 6-2 win over Iran.

Our Welsh neighbours – who are also in Group B with us – managed a draw with the USA, thanks to a late Gareth Bale penalty.

But goals aren’t the only thing to celebrate this World Cup, as a pub chain is giving away FREE pints to lucky fans who have one of 50 surnames.

Gerald England / Geograph

Greene King is dishing out a free drink to anyone who has the same surname as a player in either the England or Wales squads.

If you have one of the lucky last names, you can claim a pint on the house at any point during an England or Wales game.

All you have to do is head to a participating Greene King pub with your driving licence or passport to prove your name.

Anyone with one of these 50 surnames can claim the free pint: 

Hennessey
Ward
Davies
Cabango
Lockyer
Rodon
Mepham
Ampadu
Gunter
Williams
Roberts
Thomas
Allen
Smith
Levitt
Wilson
Morrell
Ramsey
Colwill
Bale
Moore
Harris
Johnson
James
Pickford
Pope
Ramsdale
Alexander-Arnold
Coady
Dier
Maguire
Shaw
Stones
Trippier
Walker
White
Bellingham
Gallagher
Henderson
Mount
Phillips
Rice
Foden
Grealish
Kane
Maddison
Rashford
Saka
Sterling
Wilson

All you need to do is head down to your nearest participating boozer and show the bar your photo ID during any England or Wales World Cup group stage game.

You can find the nearest pub to you taking part in the offer here.

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Will Ferrell appeals for spare room in North West to watch Eurovision

Got any room for Will?

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Netflix

Earlier this year it was announced that Eurovision 2023 would be held in Liverpool instead of Kiev, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Following the news, all hotels and accommodation in the city quickly sold out – with many establishments dramatically increasing their prices in the process.

As such, finding somewhere to stay during the annual song contest has become nigh on impossible, even if you’re a Hollywood superstar like Will Ferrell. 

Will recently appealed for help in finding accommodation for next year’s Eurovision during an appearance on BBC Radio 2 to promote his new film Spirited.

The actor previously wrote and starred in the 2020 film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, playing Icelandic singer Lars Erickssong.

READ MORE: Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf returns to screens in new Asda Christmas advert

During the BBC interview, Zoe Ball mentioned how much she enjoyed the film, to which Will responded: “And it’s in Liverpool this year, isn’t it?”

After being asked if he wanted to go, he said: “You know my mother really wants me to take her to Eurovision, she’s dying to go and she’s always wanted to go to Liverpool.”

Will added: “But aren’t the hotels all booked now?”

After the comedian appealed for a spare room to stay in, Zoe said: “If anyone is willing to put up Will Ferrell and his mum in Liverpool or the Liverpool area during Eurovision.”

Will revealed his requirements: “We need a clean, tidy room. We’ll share a room – two bunk beds that’s all we need. I know we’re kidding but my mom would love that, she’d be thrilled.”

Eurovision 2023 will consist of two semi-finals on May 9th and 11th, before the final on May 13th.

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