Coun­cil slammed for lack of grit­ting by re­tire­ment homes

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Clare Damodaran

Nearly 40 res­i­dents of the Ericht Court flats in Blair­gowrie have signed a pe­ti­tion call­ing on Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil to treat icy roads and pave­ments out­side the de­vel­op­ment.

Many of the re­tire­ment flat res­i­dents were left stranded in their homes dur­ing a re­cent icy snap in the run-up to Christ­mas as per­ilous con­di­tions on the pave­ments and roads led to them slip­ping and fall­ing.

In des­per­a­tion, they set up a pe­ti­tion which they sent to Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil and lo­cal politi­cians.

Heather John­stone is the de­vel­op­ment man­ager.

She ex­plained: “We de­cided to pe­ti­tion the coun­cil about hav­ing the roads and pave­ments around the build­ing salted when nec­es­sary after a num­ber of peo­ple fell on the ice be­fore Christ­mas.

“One lady even fell in dog poo which was quite dis­tress­ing for her.

“Ericht Court con­sists of re­tire­ment flats de­signed to al­low peo­ple to live in­de­pen­dently for as long as pos­si­ble - our old­est res­i­dent is 95-year­sold.

“But many of our res­i­dents were pet­ri­fied to go out in the run up to Christ­mas when it was re­ally icy as the pave­ments and roads out­side the build­ing had not been grit­ted.

“A lot of them are elderly and frail and

felt that they would be us­ing up NHS re­sources if they went out and fell and hurt them­selves.

“It is cheaper to grit a pave­ment than fix a bro­ken bone after all.

“But they were stuck in­side for days and were run­ning out of re­sources. It takes their in­de­pen­dence away from them, it is such a shame.

“Cross­ing the road to get into trans­port was dif­fi­cult let alone try­ing to walk up the hill.

“We have a lot of able res­i­dents too. One gen­tle­man walks eight miles a day but even with spikes on his shoes he couldn’t get up Up­per Mill Street - he slid all the way back down, it was like some­thing out of a film.

“And the other route down the hill dou­bles the length of the walk into the town cen­tre and al­though it is flat­ter, the pave­ment is still not grit­ted.”

Heather went on: “The res­i­dents pay a sub­stan­tial amount in coun­cil tax, and it seems lu­di­crous that a short stretch of pave­ment can­not be grit­ted in or­der to pro­tect the res­i­dents from fall­ing and per­haps re­quir­ing NHS treat­ment.

“We’ve not heard any­thing from the coun­cil since we sent them the pe­ti­tion in De­cem­ber and with all this rain and freez­ing tem­per­a­tures it is al­most just as bad now again.”

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor for the Blair­gowrie and Glens ward, Caro­line Shiers, said that she has raised the is­sue of grit­ting with coun­cil of­fi­cers and is await­ing a for­mal re­sponse.

In a state­ment, a spokesper­son for the lo­cal author­ity said: “Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil has a fleet of large grit­ting ve­hi­cles and pave­ment trac­tors that are de­ployed to pre-treat and treat cat­e­gory one routes through­out Perth and Kin­ross.

“The coun­cil has to op­er­ate within the avail­able re­sources at its dis­posal and as such we can­not pre­treat cat­e­gory two and three parts of the net­work, we can only at­tend to them dur­ing nor­mal work­ing hours fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the cat­e­gory one net­work treat­ment.

“The coun­cil has ap­prox 1300 grit bins around Perth and Kin­ross.

“We have also agreed to pro­mote a self-help scheme for foot­way grit­ting treat­ment over the win­ter months and are al­ways seek­ing more vol­un­teers to grit a prea­greed sec­tion of foot­way with a push along spreader.”

Pe­ti­tion Ericht Court res­i­dents Mary Hol­man, Mar­garet Ritchie and de­vel­op­ment man­ager Heather John­stone

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