Exmouth pensioner hits out at council snow-clearing policy

PUBLISHED: 10:52 17 January 2011 | UPDATED: 11:23 17 January 2011

Archant

A PENSIONER who suffered a bad fall during the recent cold snap is upset after being told it was unlikely the county council would change its snow-clearing policy.

Ivan Prior, of Egremont Road, had been out walking his dog near the Imperial Recreation Ground in Exmouth last month when he suddenly fell.

The 73-year-old claimed the pathways were like skating rinks because of the amount of ice following heavy snowfall.

Mr Prior said he knows a large volume of people in the town who also suffered bad falls around Exmouth because Devon County Council Highways failed to clear pathways.

“It was just so dangerous out there,” he said.

“I think it is inexcusable because of Exmouth’s demographic – with a lot of elderly people around – that there is not a better response from the council.

“It will be surprising if they are not inundated with claims because of the number of people who suffered falls.

“They (DCC) have to respond in making it safe for people to get around.”

Mr Prior, whose daughter-in-law, Aileen Low, wrote a letter of complaint to the county council, added: “I’m a carer for my wife. God knows what would have happened if I had been seriously injured.”

Peter Shepley, from Devon County Council highway management, said during such a period of heavy snowfall, the local authority’s priority was to treat and clear the primary highway network.

“The clearance and treatment of footways is a secondary option if and when resources permit,” he explained.

“The amount of snow that we experience, along with the exceptionally cold weather prior to and during the Christmas break, stretched all of our resources.

“Unfortunately, we do have a limited budget and have to prioritise how we spend that throughout the year.

“The following years will also see reductions in our budgets and it is therefore unlikely any changes will be made to the council policy to allow for the snow clearance of footways.”

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