RESIDENTS STRANDED IN FLATS
Council slammed for lack of gritting by retirement homes
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