“Pulling together” when times are tough!
SIR - I read, with interest, all the letters in the Herald and most make informed points and very good sense.
Occasionally, the Town, District or County Councils are criticised and, as councillors, we take notice of that and do our best to fix it. Also, occasionally, we see a letter which just has no facts correct and whose criticism is totally unfounded. I refer to the prime place letter in the Sidmouth Herald of January 14 from B D Kennard.
The same question, almost exactly, was raised by a town councillor in a question to me as an East Devon District Councillor at the last Town Council meeting. There must be an election due! I will give Mr Kennard much the same answer: - Making the risk assessment, setting the priorities and clearing the pavements and roads of snow are the responsibility of the County Council, their share of the rates pay for that and they have the equipment. Their manpower was used primarily to clear and keep clear the main roads so that essential services and supplies could move. Once that was achieved they started to service other areas.
East Devon District Council employees volunteered to help clear the pavements in Sidmouth and elsewhere where they were at their most dangerous. Devon County Council supplied four tons of grit/salt to help and I saw our workforce in Sidmouth with the aforementioned shovels dealing with the most dangerous areas. Volunteer staff also cleared the East Devon District Council car park and drive so that both employees and members of the public could access the offices safely.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those at EDDC who performed above and beyond their duty in the recent adverse conditions - well done.
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The powers that be should always do their best in any stressful circumstances, but it is also incumbent on each and every one of us to do our own risk assessment. Are we physically capable of going out in the conditions, do we really have to go out in it and, if so, do we have the right equipment? Are our cars suitable for the conditions and do we have the skills required? I saw a few who obviously had no idea how to drive on snow and ice and were a danger to everyone else.
Many people with forethought had bought clip on “snow chains” for their footwear and were able to walk around relatively safely. I know a number of Councillors who helped other people who were unable to help themselves. I own a 4x4 so offered to fetch essential shopping, others helped push cars that were stuck another visited an elderly lady whose relations were worried and had phoned the Town Council.
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That’s what we do in this country in emergencies, we all pull together, not moan that someone else hasn’t done the job for us.
Cllr Chris Gibbings
Sidmouth Ward, EDDC