DRIVERS and groundworkers in Bournemouth are warning of treacherous conditions today as compacted snow turns to ice.

Temperatures as low as minus five hit the town overnight, freezing yesterday’s powdered snow into sheet ice.

Kevin Pettit, driver and trainer for Christchurch delivery firm, Coastline, said conditions had improved since yesterday on main roads, but warned of danger on untreated side roads.

“The side roads are treacherous where the snow has compacted. It’s become very, very slippery. My advice would be: more haste, less speed. Give yourself plenty of time for a journey, and drive very carefully.

“It’s better to get there an hour late, than to find yourself in a hospital bed.”

He said he had left home in Oakdale, Poole at 2am yesterday in anticipation of a disrupted journey.

“Poole to Christchurch took me an hour yesterday, when usually it takes 15 or 20 minutes at 2.30am. Then I was off to Bournemouth, Wimborne, Lymington, Barton-on-Sea and the New Forest.

“Out in the New Forest, the roads were horrendous – very pretty, very Christmasy, but very difficult to drive.”

“I’m delivering fresh fruit and fresh vegetables so we have to attempt to get to the customer.

"It’s frustrating for businesses that councils don’t seem to have learned lessons from earlier in the year.

“Today the main roads are fine, but when I left Poole yesterday the roads hadn’t been touched, and in Lymington, they didn’t have a gritter lorry – just a bunch of blokes following a tipper lorry with shovels,” he said.

Richard Lines and Will Laidlaw from Ferndown firm, Edens Landscaping, had cleared the pavement outside the Britannia building society’s central Bournemouth HQ by 7am today (Fri 3).

The pair had worked from 6am to 2.30pm yesterday before returning to Richmond Hill in the evening.

“We went home in the afternoon for a couple of hours to eat and thaw out, and then came back at 7pm for about an hour and a quarter.

“The pavements are sometimes overlooked. Today, people would have been walking on compacted snow, which is very slippery.

“In the Square, it’s a very smooth paving surface, and at this time of year, there’ll be plenty of people in town doing their Christmas shopping,” they said.