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December 31, 2020 10:27 AM

Heather Kid has slammed the Council's gritting policy which is leaving pensioners in her ward without access to medical care.

Heather said: "Much of my ward is hill country going up to 1000' and we have many residents with medical needs scattered around the area. In the past when we have had issues with people needing to access medical care after a snowfall the Council has been happy to come and grit key stretches of road.

"I was rather shocked however by the Council's response yesterday to a request I made on behalf of a gentleman in his 70's with a life-threatening condition that needed to go for a blood test at Pontesbury surgery. I rang on Monday to ask for a key stretch of road to be gritted to allow him (and many other residents) access to the A488. I rang again yesterday and was told after a long wait that there was no chance of any gritting being done. In other words, if you do not live on a primary route then tough!"

"This raises several questions about Shropshire Council's capacity to keep roads clear in winter and has this diminished significantly since past winters? After all, this is the first snowfall we have had this winter. Alternatively, is it again a matter of Shropshire Council being unable to manage their contracts properly? The people who do the gritting - KIER - are after all the same organisation responsible for the potholes debacle.

"On a wider issue, if this is now the Council's policy have they thought through the wider impact on the NHS of their actions? At a time when our health service is coming under intense pressure from Covid, this is going to impact on the ability of many elderly and vulnerable residents to get the health care they need."

Heather has raised this with the Director of Shropshire Council responsible for gritting as a matter of urgency.

Meanwhile in the South of the County, Cllr Vivienne Parry (Ludlow South), has had a great number of complaints from residents in the Richards Castle and Ashford Carbonell areas.

Vivienne said: "It seems much worse this winter with quite significant roads being left ungritted and residents of quite large settlements finding it difficult to be able to get into Ludlow. What has made it worse is that there have been many fewer piles of grit left along roadsides for people to grit for themselves.

"Shropshire Council must remember that people in rural areas pay Council taxes and expect a modicum of service in return."