'We are left housebound if it's icy' - elderly couple condemn Sheffield Council's gritting policy

An elderly couple who are both in their 90s say they have been left stranded because the council doesn’t grit their road.

By Lucy Ashton, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 28th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th November 2019, 5:05 pm

Francis and Catherine Ward, who are 91 and 92, live on Stephen Drive in Crosspool which is often hit by ice and snow.

Mr Ward says there are at least three other householders on the cul-de-sac who have carers visiting and icy roads are putting elderly and disabled people, plus their carers, at risk.

“We have carers two or three times a day and there are two other ladies who have carers several times a day,” he said.

Sheffield Gritters on standby at the Olive Grove Depot. Picture: Marie Caley

“Up to last year I was able to drive but now I’m on a zimmer frame and we are housebound if it’s icy. We used to have the road gritted and because of the elderly people and carers here, I think it should be gritted again.”

Amey says over 60 per cent of roads get precautionary gritting when freezing temperatures are forecast and there are also over 2,000 grit bins available for the public to use.

Darren Butt, account director at Amey said: “The gritting routes have been chosen to ensure major arterial routes and access to hospitals and emergency services are gritted first and foremost.

“Priority one routes focus on main roads that link Sheffield to other cities and the motorway, followed by priority two routes, which include bus routes and access to key public services such as schools, GP surgeries and care homes.

“During snow, once the priority routes are running freely, we will then move on to clearing snow from side roads. Stephen Drive is a small cul-de-sac located off a priority two route and so, does not currently meet any of the criteria for inclusion in the gritting programme.

“However, the road does have two grit bins and we would encourage residents and visitors to make full use of these. We’d also encourage residents to check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours and spread grit on pavements.”