Inverness councillors refused to approve a new winter maintenance plan for the city yesterday because of major concerns about changes to gritting priorities.
Lochalsh Road and Telford Road are among a list of about 20 routes which will be made a lower priority in the city’s new plan for this winter.
But the proposed plan went unapproved at the Inverness city committee because of the huge level of concern expressed by members.
They initially criticised a lack of detail on changes to the plan.
But there was horror when area community services manager Tracy Urray read out a list of roads which were being downgraded.
Croy and Cantray were among those rural areas to be downgraded to “others”, as well as a range for city streets, including Carsegate Road, Fairfield Road and Temple Crescent.
Primary routes are meant to be treated by 8.30am, with secondary routes by 9am. Other routes are treated when resources are available.
Mrs Urray said that the changes were necessary because the Inverness service is losing two vehicles and one employee this year and the same next year because of budget cuts.
Councillor Donnie Kerr said he was astonished that Lochalsh Road and Telford Road were being changed from primary priority to secondary.
He said they are busy routes used by motorists trying to avoid the A82.
Other members spoke up for a number of steep routes to be a higher priority.
But Mrs Urray said that steepness was not taken into consideration when assessing the priority of treatment.
She added: “We had to make sure we get round the network with reduced resources.”
Council leader Margaret Davidson said she was uneasy about the plan and would “struggle to accept” the proposals for her own ward.
She said that the Lochaber members have also refused to accept their area plan.
Mrs Davidson proposed that councillors hold urgent ward meetings to discuss the changes.
A special committee meeting may be required to approve any revisions to the plan before winter starts.