South Tyneside back on track after days of heavy snows

Coun Adam Ellison with members of the community and school staff who helped to clear snow from St Oswald's Primary.
Coun Adam Ellison with members of the community and school staff who helped to clear snow from St Oswald's Primary.

South Tyneside is getting back to normal after freezing temperatures and snow storms caused disruption across the borough.

The Beast from the East caused chaos on the roads and led to many schools being closed for the safety of staff and students.

But now the weather is turning milder, all South Tyneside schools and children’s centres were able to reopen as usual yesterday.

St Oswald’s CE VA Primary School in Hebburn was one of the schools which opened back up to pupils, thanks to the kindness of people in the community.

Parents, pupils, staff and residents joined forces with headteacher Helen Smith and Hebburn north Labour councillor Adam Ellison, to clear the snow from the school site so that it was able to reopen on Monday.

Coun Ellison called it a ‘phenomenal effort,’ saying: “It took place on Sunday after I woke up to a message from the headteacher say ‘what do you think of this idea’ and within an hour the message had gone out on social media and parents had turned up at the gates to take part.

“We had 45 to 50 people turned out including pupils. Everyone really rallied and it was cleaned up within an hour.

“The snow was quite deep and becoming dangerous because there was thick ice underneath.

“It was a fantastic effort and the kids were able to go back on Monday because of what had been done.”

Meanwhile, council bin collections look set to resume a normal service from today.

The borough’s main routes are all open and the majority of transport services have resumed, although Metro services faced problems on Monday.

Metro had said it planned to run a full timetable, with a 12-minute frequency on all lines and extra services at peak times, following the snowy weather.

But Metros were off in both directions between Sunderland and Boldon, meaning commuters were forced to travel via bus.

Throughout the severe conditions staff from across South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes pulled out all the stops to help keep the borough moving by clearing snow and gritting priority areas.

The highways maintenance, waste and recycling collection teams along with the Council’s grounds maintenance contractors, Glendale and ISS also lent their support. They were praised for their efforts by Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, who said: “We commend the efforts of our staff and partners who have been doing all they can to minimise disruption in such difficult circumstances.”