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Snow update: Portland pensioners trapped in homes
PENSIONERS have been trapped in their homes for two days as icy roads and pavements have made it impossible for them to get out.
Steep residential roads on Portland have been left ungritted and the sub-zero temperatures have made areas too dangerous to walk or drive on.
Rescue operations have been going on around Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester to salvage cars as roads turn into skating rinks.
Despite the conditions there have been no reports of serious injuries.
Elderly residents living on a hill in Weare Close on Portland haven’t been able to get out of their homes or to the shops for two days.
They say that they have been asking Dorset County Council to fill the grit box since the summer but nothing has been done and now they are trapped in their homes with food supplies running short.
Brian Allebone, 77, said: “It’s so slippery, you can’t get out. We have asked them to fill up the grit box but they haven’t. They keep passing us on to someone else.”
His wife Marlene, 68, said they were running out of bread and milk as they did their shopping at the end of the week.
She said: “We can’t even catch a bus to go and get supplies because we can’t get down to them.
“We have a couple of slices of bread, some milk and vegetables left. We go once a week to the supermarket and we’re coming to the end of our provisions.”
Fellow Weare Close resident Laura Amor, 63, said: “If the council filled the boxes with grit then we would put it down ourselves and we wouldn’t have to keep bothering them.
“The problem here is that we don’t have the sun for about two months of the year as it doesn’t get high enough to get over the hill, so the ice doesn’t melt.
“I’m scared to go out because I broke my wrist before and I’m worried I could slip over onto it again.”
She added: “We are aware that we are not the only ones that have been overlooked by the gritters. We know there are other people out there in similar situations. “It’s just because we are on a hill it’s much more intimidating.”
Stuart Fretwell, 57, who lives on nearby Killicks Hill, said he couldn’t believe that the roads hadn’t been gritted as it was close to Underhill Primary School.
He said: “I’m angry and disbelieving. The council should have given more thought to elderly residents and children trying to get to school.
“I looked out of my back window and they have gritted Verne Common Road and up to the prison and it made me mad.
“They should be looking after everyone, both prisoners and residents.”
He added: “I feel that the residents on this part of Portland have been left to fend for themselves.
“Weymouth and Portland Borough Council always used to grit it but then Dorset County Council took us off the gritting route.”
For people who tried to get out and about on the ice the roads and pavements of Dorset were fraught with danger.
Paramedics received 22 calls from people who had fallen over on the ice in Dorset between 7.30 and 9.30am yesterday.
Ambulance crews were able to attend call-outs as usual, a South Western Ambulance spokesman said.
On the roads there were several accidents due to ice but there were no reports of any injuries. A woman escaped unhurt after her car overturned in a field at Lower Norris Mill Farm, Lower Bockhampton, and a collision was reported in Southfield Avenue, Weymouth.
Other danger zones included Hereford Road and Norfolk Road in Westham, which police were forced to close because it became too dangerous, and Louviers Road in Littlemoor, which became like a skate rink.
A postal van became stuck and neighbours helped elderly residents across the roads.
A team of teenagers took action and gritted the road outside their homes, on the junction of Queensland Road, and Sussex Road, Westham.
Frustrated mum and resident Susan Newman said: “About three cars slid all the way down the road and into the fence at the bottom.
“We called the police and the council but no one turned up so a bunch of kids stepped in to help everyone out.
“They found some grit and filling wheelbarrows and wheelie bins with the grit they set about gritting the road and pavements.”
He said: “Elderly people and residents have been made prisoners in their own homes. No one can get out.
“We called Dorset County Council and they said we should call Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and they told us there was only one salt bin for the borough and it was on Portland and I understand that no one can get to it as it’s in Weare Close.” He added: “It’s not unreasonable to expect to have full salt bins then people would happily treat the roads themselves.”