Lack of gritting leaves pensioners stranded

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A Glenrothes carer has hit out at Fife Council for its failure to make proper winter provision for residents at two of its own sheltered housing complexes.

George Walkingshaw has told the Gazette that his complaints to both the Fife authority and local councillors, have been ignored, leaving residents, some of whom are disabled, effectively “prisoners in their own homes”.

“I know of severalresidents that have not gone out for over a week now because of the weather and the fear that they may take a fall.

“It’s shocking to think that the council don’t deem the gritting of paths, walkways and entrances at two of its own sheltered housing facilities necessary,” said Mr Walkingshaw.

“There has been plenty of prior warning that there would be a cold spell, but after 10 days there has been no gritting at either site and that is not only unacceptable, but a downright disgrace.”

Mr Walkingshaw, who has been a carer for the last five years, and who regularly visits both the Bairadam Court and Balgillie Court sheltered housing facilities, says he has never seen it so bad.

“I’ve have lots of complaints from residents I visit, many feel they have been forgotten about.

“There are some steeply sloped pathways at both sites, how are pensioners, who need to venture out, expected to use those paths safely?” Mr Walkingshaw added.

“When I’ve made the the local authority aware of the non-gritting, I’ve been told it’s due to budget cuts.

“I think it’s time the council gets its priorities right and started taking the health and well-being of the residents a lot more seriously.”

Furthermore, Mr Walkingshaw said that council grit bins at the roadside in Blairadam Court remained full and untouched.

“The bins are full but are frozen solid, are pensioners supposed to do dig the salt out spread it themselves?”

Bill Liddle, maintenance operations, responded: “Both Blair Adam and Balgillie Court, Glenrothes, are primary one, or priority, footpaths for gritting treatment.

“Our policy for treatment of footpaths is usually confined to the removal of snow deposits, and only in exceptional circumstances where thick and persistent frost exists over a period of 24-48 hours, and is expected to continue, will we undertake treatment on footways.

Although temperatures were sub-zero on some of the days, most of the frost melted.”